BUSINESS: Tips for Securely Filing Your Taxes

As a business owner, your number one priority is safeguarding the interests of your enterprise, which is why you should take extra precaution to ensure that your information is protected when filing your business taxes.

3/7/2019 11:30:00 AM
BUSINESS: Tips for Securely Filing Your TaxesThese tips will ensure that your returns are filed safely, and your information remains uncompromised.
Practical protection
Tax returns require sensitive information pertaining to your business as well as personal details, which make them attractive to hackers and identity thieves.
Since the Internal Revenue Service requires you to keep your tax filings and supporting documents for a minimum of three years and a maximum of seven years, the agency advises that you keep all paper documents locked safely away. A locked drawer or cabinet are good options, but your best bet may very well be a hidden, fireproof safe.
When working with a tax professional, take the time to vet their credentials before you hand over any sensitive documents. If you choose to file on your own via tax software, make sure that your computer is equipped with up-to-date anti-virus and anti-malware software and that you are protected by a firewall. If you store your documents on your computer for record-keeping purposes or for electronic filing, the IRS recommends installing software designed to encrypt your files and backup drives to prevent important information from being stolen.
Once you’re ready to cycle out older tax documents, the IRS advises that you shred any paper documents thoroughly to prevent identity theft. For electronically stored documents, you will need to wipe your drives before selling or disposing of an old computer or external drive.
Delivery methods
Before you send off or hand over physical tax paperwork, The Balance’s William Perez and Beverly Bird advise that you make a detailed list of everything you’re sending and make copies of every document. You can scan and save the documents as PDFs on your computer; if you want an extra layer of protection, they recommend saving secondary copies to a flash drive or an external hard drive. Having readily available backup copies will reduce the stress that occurs if something should go missing en route to your accountant or to the government.
If possible, Perez and Bird suggest hand-delivering your documents to your accountant or professional tax preparer, as this serves as the best option to ensure the safe filing of your documents. If your accountant is too far to reach in person, it’s suggested that you spring for delivery or signature confirmation and that you maintain your tracking information to monitor your documents’ progress.
Email, although exceptionally user-friendly, is fraught with potential dangers, according to Perez and Bird. Before you hit send, they suggest inquiring whether or not your accountant’s computer is equipped with secure file exchange software. Never send sensitive details within the body of an email and ensure that all documents are encrypted and password-protected.
Your tax paperwork is too important to the health of your business. By taking the proper precautions, you can better ensure its success and stability without having to worry as much.