MORE TAXPAYERS TO FILE ONLINENew York - Approximately 40 percent of online households plan to file their federal taxes via the Internet this year, up from under 34 percent four years ago, according to a report by researchers at the Conference Board and TNS, which surveyed 10,000 households and found that consumers' concerns about conducting financial transactions online have been easing over the last few years.

The percentage of those who are extremely concerned with the security of filing taxes online has dropped from about 50 percent in 2005 to only 36 percent today. Conversely, the percentage who claim that they are not very concerned or not concerned at all has increased to nearly 40 percent from 27 percent five years ago.

Among online filers, 40 percent have been e-filing for five years or more, a major increase from just 22 percent in 2005. Among those not filing electronically (44 percent offline and 15 percent still undecided), the most popular reason (cited by 40 percent) is that the individual does not prepare their own taxes. Concern about submitting personal information online is the second most likely factor, cited by just 19 percent. Another notable barrier, cited by 14 percent, is the complexity of the return.

Among online filers, roughly 40 percent intend to use a professional service, with a similar percentage using do-it-yourself software. Only about 20 percent intend to use IRS e-file.

BANKRUPT TAXPAYERS NEED BETTER PROTECTION FROM IRS

Washington, D.C. - Taxpayers' rights were violated when the Internal Revenue Service filed liens on their accounts while they were in bankruptcy, according to a recent report by a government watchdog.

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration issued a report noting that an estimated 495 potential taxpayer rights violations occurred between October 2005 and December 2007 because the IRS filed liens while taxpayers were in bankruptcy. There were also 27,838 taxpayers at risk of violations because a bankruptcy freeze code was not posted to their accounts in a timely manner.

TIGTA found that the centralized insolvency operation function could take better advantage of reports generated from automated systems to identify and resolve potential stay violations, and that improvements are necessary in holding managers more accountable for initiating bankruptcy-closing actions in a timely manner.

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