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It was bound to happen. Major financial service brokerages have been filing electronic tax returns for years, and now you can too. Universal Tax Systems Inc. has announced its SecureTax service on the Internet. Launched in January 1997, the SecureTax Web site (www. securetax.com) allows users to compute their taxes free of charge. The service automatically chooses the forms you need to prepare your federal and state tax returns, with step-by step instructions to guide you through the preparation process.
Anticipating concerns about the security of the Internet, SecureTax employs a multilayered security system to protect sensitive financial information. The site offers other services, such as electronic filing, for a fee. The program walks users through the tax preparation process with forms that can be printed ($9.95) and mailed to the IRS. There is also the option to file your return electronically with state and federal agencies ($4.95). Returns can be scrutinized by a program designed to detect the possibility of an IRS audit ($1).
For users who are confident enough to file their own returns and feel comfortable using the Internet, SecureTax may be a way to save on electronic filing brokerage fees–and speed up that return.