Getting a record of your tax returns is now easy. You don’t have to request a copy or wait to receive it in the mail. The United States Department of the Treasury recently launched a web application that allows Americans to directly download their tax returns from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This important announcement was made in January at the House’s Education Datapalooza, a meeting of hackers and policy readers that looked at how open government data can help improve the country’s education system.
The new IRS web application – “Get Tax Transcripts” – is a much-awaited technological upgrade that allows US tax payers to view, print, and download their tax transcripts online in real-time using a computer or smartphone. This had made it easier for consumers to access tax records required to submit student loans, small business loans, grant applications, and tax preparations.
Previously, the process was time-consuming. Individuals had to fill out and submit a questionnaire and wait for at least 5-10 business days to receive a copy of the transcript via mail. This delay was critical for those who needed rapid access to applications.
Users can create an account and go through an authentication process (choosing pass phrase, pass image and security questions) to get what they need – wage and income transcript, verification of non-filing letter, tax return and tax account, and record of accounts – with one click.
However, though IRS has taken steps to authenticate users and secure the system, a report in the InformationWeek points out that the “Get Tax Transcript” is not without risks. The new web application can become a target for identity thieves. Another view is that fraudsters can create mockups of fake government websites that appear similar and then send phishing emails to users telling them to log in to these fake websites. For these reasons, consumers have to be wary. Those who plan to download their tax transcripts from IRS website to their desktops, mobile phones, and laptops need to install full disk protection on their systems.
Secure file transfer is not only important in case of tax transcripts but also in case of all legal data. Users need to understand the importance of maintaining and protecting the confidentiality of legal files to prevent hackers and malware from intercepting, viewing, editing or copying client data. In the Legal industry Data breaches in legal transcription, for instance, can seriously damage the reputation of legal professionals and expose them to litigation. Legal professionals relying on a legal transcription company need to make sure that they maintain standard data security protocols and can provide safe file transfer. If you are handling critical data including Personal health information, security should always be maintained.