Nearly Half of Online ‘Free File’ Tax Services Fail Security Audit

What's Hot

5 Reasons to Shop for a Home in DecemberFamily

Shoppers Boycott Businesses Selling Trump-Branded ProductsBusiness

15 Things You Should Always Buy at a Dollar StoreMore

Giving Thanks: Why Foreigners Find America AmazingAround The House

New Email Phishing Scam Targets Amazon ShoppersMore

50 Best Gifts Under $25 for Everyone on Your ListFamily

Why Washing Your Turkey Can Make You IllFamily

Pay $2 and Get Unlimited Wendy’s Frosty Treats in 2017Family

The 7 Worst Things to Buy at a Dollar StoreMore

What the Richest 1 Percent Earns in Every StateFamily

10 Ways to Retire Earlier Than Friends on the Same SalaryGrow

The 10 Best Ways to Blow Your MoneyCredit & Debt

The 50 Hottest Toys of the Past 50 YearsFamily

30 Awesome Things to Do in RetirementCollege

More potentially bad news for taxpayers: Those who file their taxes electronically through free programs should be especially cautious this year.

More potentially bad news for taxpayers: Those who file their taxes electronically through free programs should be especially cautious this year.

Six of 13 free e-file tax services that participate in the IRS’ Free File program failed a recently released audit by the nonprofit Online Trust Alliance (OTA).

The IRS’ Free File program enables people who earn less than a certain threshold to file their taxes online for free. This year, that threshold is $62,000.

OTA’s audit evaluated the 13 e-file tax services in three main categories:

Consumer protection: Protection of email via authentication and encryption between servers, and protection of domains from hijacking

Site security: Server security, use of encryption for Web sessions, protections such as firewalls and potential site vulnerabilities

Privacy: Data sharing, retention, notice and third-party restriction policies in the privacy policy, as well as analysis of third-party tracking on the site

Each service was deemed to have either made the “honor roll” — meaning it earned an overall score of at least 80 percent — or to have failed the audit. There was no middle ground.

The seven services that made the honor roll are:

  • eSmart Tax
  • FreeTaxUSA
  • H&R Block Free File
  • TaxAct
  • TaxSlayer
  • TurboTax Free File

Click here and learn to slash your taxes with our new tax course!

The six services that failed the audit are:

  • Jackson Hewitt Online
  • Online Taxes at

CNBC reports that Tim Hugo, executive director of the Free File Alliance, which represents the 13 websites that do not charge eligible taxpayers, said in a statement:

“All Free File companies are evaluated and tested each year to ensure that they meet IRS standards addressing every aspect of security and privacy.

“Our members, working with the IRS, will carefully examine this report and take its recommendations under consideration in our continued efforts to ensure that Free File offers the industry’s most innovative and secure tax software.”

To learn more about filing your taxes, be sure to check out Money Talks News’ new course taught by Stacy Johnson: “Mastering Taxes: Slash Your Taxes and Have Fun Doing It!” (Readers can save 28 percent via that link.)

Do you use the IRS’ Free File program? Let us know below or on Facebook.

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!


Read Next: 7 Ways a Fitbit Can Make or Save You Money

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 1,757 more deals!