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Home > Tax Refund Tips > How to Send Tax Documents Securely

How to Send Tax Documents Securely

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2024-04-18 11:56:27 • Filed to: Tax Refund Tips • Proven solutions

Tax fraud seems to be a lucrative venture these days as IRS continues to report the issue of fraudulent tax refunds every year. Tax refund theft is becoming popular among criminals and getting sophisticated these days to the extent that some states reportedly stopped electronic fillings because of fraudulent returns. In fact, it is important to note that the IRS reported a whopping loss of about $6.5 billion to tax return fraud in 2014 and the subsequent years were even higher. The truth of the matter is that tax seasons are also a season of tax refund identity theft. This means that as taxpayers file their tax returns during the tax season, identity thieves are also working to commit fraud. 

This post will show you how to protect your tax data and securely send tax documents

Part 1: Is It Safe to Email Tax Returns?

It's not safe to email tax returns since Emails are not encrypted and can be intercepted by an unauthorized third party or individual. In fact, you shouldn't email any sensitive information. Tax documents such as the W2 form contain important information about you, including your Social Security numbers, name, address, and more. Even though you send the tax returns via a more secure HTTPS connection, like Gmail, you can't make sure that your recipient is using a secure HTTP connection.

If you have to email your tax documents, you can encrypt the documents with PDF tools like Wondershare PDFelement - PDF Editor .

Is it safe to email w2?

The most secure way of sending a W2 form is to print it out and hand it directly to the recipient. If you have to email your W2 form, make sure the form is encrypted. Read on and learn how to securely send tax documents.

Part 2. How to Securely Send Tax Documents

There are many things you can do to at least protect your tax data from unwanted access. Here are some tips that can help you securely send and protect your tax documents. 

1. Encrypt Your Tax Documents Before Sending Them Out 

The tax return forms are PDF documents and the good thing is that with Wondershare PDFelement - PDF Editor, a PDF editor that can protect PDF files from unwanted access. With it, you can always add a password and permission to the tax return forms.

PDFelement provides the perfect solution to prevent these forms from getting stolen because you can set up a password for the tax forms. After password-protecting the documents with PDFelement, only people with passwords can open the files. 

Also, PDFelement can redact sensitive information on a PDF form in one click. For example, if you need to send your tax documents out without revealing your social security number, you can black out the number with PDFelement. 

protect tax form

2. File As Early as Possible

It is important not to keep your tax return from hanging, it can be exposed to criminals. One way of beating these criminals to their game is to file your tax return as early as you can. The chances of falling for these thieves will be eliminated once your tax return has been filed because after that your information will not be useable for them for that filing season. However, it could become a problem in the following tax filing season. So the best thing to do is to file your taxes early and secure your tax forms at all times.

3. Get an Identity Protection Pin

One good measure the IRS has taken in recent times is to introduce an identity protection pin to help protect taxpayers against these frauds done by criminals. The pin number will help the IRS verify the identities of taxpayers e-filing their taxes. IRS will send this pin to interested taxpayers but you need to contact them. Note that the pin validity is for one tax year.

Why Is It Important to Keep Your Tax Records Secure

The importance of protecting your tax return forms from getting stolen cannot be overemphasized for the following reasons.

1. Thieves will commit a tax return fraud with your stolen tax return form. It is important to mention that one of the ways these thieves commit tax refund fraud with your stolen tax return forms is by using your social security number to file a tax return. Your tax form contains a social security number and these criminals will get the number on the stolen tax return forms. Apart from the social security number, these criminals will get your birth date and your name and this is just what is needed to file a tax refund in your name. With this, it is possible for these criminals to file a tax return using your identity using fake W-2 information. The IRS will likely detect the discrepancy especially when they receive the employers' wage data report but the issue is that it is always too late to recover the funds.

2. It is also very important to protect your tax return form from getting stolen because resolving these issues could take a long time. In most cases, the taxpayer will not be aware of the fraud until they go and file their tax return only to be told that the tax return has been filed in their names. While the criminals can be caught, it would take a whole lot of time to resolve the issue. In fact, in some cases, issues bordering on tax return fraud could take months to resolve and this could become a problem for the taxpayer. It could lead to an emotional, physiological and physical breakdown on the part of the taxpayer.

3. Note that despite the advances in security measures taken by the IRS to combat or prevent tax return frauds, it is still proving difficult to stop the activities of criminals every tax season. What this means is that taxpayers are required to put in some extra measure themselves to defend themselves against tax return fraud as there is a limit to what the IRS can do in this regard.

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Audrey Goodwin

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