State can't force you to file taxes electronically if you don't trust its online security

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 appellant’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 Pentagon’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 appellant’s consistent practice of avoiding electronic payment of all of his bills, including his tax obligations, the Board found that the appellant’s failure to utilize the Commissioner’s mandated electronic tax payment to be reasonable. ... The Board therefore found and ruled that the appellant’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.

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        Comments

        well after the ACA

        By on

        (continuing) fiasco, who can blame someone.

        Certainly none here in

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        Certainly none here in Massachusetts. They'd have have had to have managed to collect data in the first place to be able to leak it.

        Then I don't understand the

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        Then I don't understand the comment referencing ACA and its effect in MA on data security concerns?

        Really?

        I feel the guys pain, but as soon as the IRS gets your paper tax form, they enter it into the same computer system, so how is this really 'protecting' his privacy? (although the ruling seems to be intermingling electric filing and electronic payment...)

        his reason to be paranoid

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        just connecting to the internet can expose you to breach... theoretically of course.

        There's a penalty for paper filing?

        We have an account friend help us with our taxes, but they don't want to officially be the tax preparer so we just submit the paper version. I don't remember any penalty... is it only for extensions?

        Just certain extensions

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        Over $5,000. The ruling quotes a DoR official saying that while they'd love to do that with Form 1 filings, they're not going to. I'll correct the original post.