The Appellate Tax Board ruled yesterday a taxpayer who fears hackers could tap into his financial records if he filed taxes electronically had "reasonable cause" to pay the old-fashioned way - with a paper check - and ordered the state Department of Revenue to drop a $100 penalty it tried to assess him for not filing via computer
The board ruled that Jonathan Haar's concerns - that if hackers could break into Pentagon systems, they could surely tap into DoR computers - warranted him not complying with a state requirement to file all extensions for more than $5,000 electronically:
The Board found credible the appellantâ€™s testimony that he was concerned that transmitting his personal financial information electronically would expose him to a serious risk of security breaches. Given his reference to the hacking of the Pentagonâ€™s computer systems, and in light of the many well-publicized instances of large-scale thefts of financial information following computer security breaches at businesses and other institutions, and the appellantâ€™s consistent practice of avoiding electronic payment of all of his bills, including his tax obligations, the Board found that the appellantâ€™s failure to utilize the Commissionerâ€™s mandated electronic tax payment to be reasonable. ... The Board therefore found and ruled that the appellantâ€™s paper payment of the tax accompanying his extension request in lieu of electronic payment was consistent with the degree of care that an ordinary taxpayer in his position would have exercised.
Via The Docket.