Do Free File confirmation e-mails contain sensitive information?
March 24, 2013 2:10 PM   Subscribe

Do the confirmation e-mails for e-filing federal tax returns with Free File Fillable Forms contain sensitive information?

I just filed my taxes with the Free File Fillable Forms website, but I used the wrong e-mail: basically, without thinking I used an address that was a mix of my work e-mail and my personal e-mail. Unfortunately, it is an existing e-mail, so a stranger has access to whatever is contained in that e-mail.

Now I'm freaking out a bit. I'm worried that I the Free File website might have sent out information that someone might use to access my tax information or, indirectly, even steal my identity. I wouldn't guess that a confirmation e-mail would contain sensitive information, but you never know. If anyone used free fillable forms to file their return, describing what the confirmation e-mail contains (or even a print-screen image if there's nothing sensitive to hide) would be a huge help.
posted by millions to Work & Money (4 answers total)
 
Here is what I received:
Dear Free File Taxpayer:

Your federal return was successfully transmitted.

Next steps
Watch your email. In 24-48 hours, you should receive a second email showing your status from the IRS.
Your return will be either accepted or rejected.

Your return is not complete until it is accepted by the IRS.

To track your return status, go to https://www.freefilefillableforms.com/fff/html/CheckStatus.htm

To go back to your Free File return, sign in at www.freefilefillableforms.com/FFA/FreeFileForms.htm

This email was generated from an automatic system, which is not monitored for responses.
Both those links require credentials before displaying any information.

If the IRS accepts or rejects your return before you correct your email address, they will give you a submission ID.
Dear Free File Taxpayer:

Congratulations, the IRS has accepted your federal return.

Now that your return has been accepted, in 72 hours, you will be able to track your refund at
Where's My Refund? on the IRS website.
Here is the link: http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=96596,00.html

You will need to enter your Social Security number, filing status and exact whole dollar amount of your expected refund.

The IRS issues refunds every Friday, so if you check Where's My Refund and do not get an expected refund date,
wait until the next Friday to check again. You can also call (800) 829-4477 for refund status, but wait at least
4 weeks from the day you e-filed.

If you haven't already, it's always a good idea to print a copy of your return for your records.
You can sign in to your return to print a copy. To sign in, go to www.freefilefillableforms.com/FFA/FreeFileForms.htm

If you owe taxes, don't forget your payment is due by April 15, 2013.

If you're paying by check, mail your payment voucher with your check. Your voucher, which includes the mailing address,
is included when you print a copy of your return.

If you filed Form 8379 with your return, allow
11 weeks from your e-file date before checking your refund status.

Your Submission ID is: XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

To confirm your return status in the product, go to https://www.freefilefillableforms.com/fff/html/CheckStatus.htm

This email was generated from an automatic system, which is not monitored for responses.
I don't know if this submission ID contains sensitive info, or if it can be used to gain access to your return with the IRS.
posted by muddgirl at 2:23 PM on March 24, 2013


The subject lines on the emails were "Free File Fillable Forms: Federal Return Received" and "Free File Fillable Forms: Federal Return Accepted"
posted by muddgirl at 2:24 PM on March 24, 2013


Thank you! That is extremely helpful, and a load off my mind. I wouldn't guess otherwise, but I will confirm that the submission ID alone doesn't give access to sensitive information when I call the IRS tomorrow.
posted by millions at 3:06 PM on March 24, 2013


I spoke with a representative at the IRS today, and I was assured that no confidential information will be transmitted to the e-mail address I provided: it will only be used to send out a confirmation and then acceptance of a return.

I should mention, for the benefit of anyone else who might consult this entry, that Free File Fillable Forms is run by a third-party private company, and--thought it's unlikely that many will make a mistake like mine--if anything goes wrong, there is no way of contacting this entity directly. I spent an hour on the phone trying to reach someone at the IRS who had ANY idea of how to handle this issue.

Personally, even though I have filed electronically before with no issue, I think I will just file a paper return next year.
posted by millions at 3:27 PM on March 25, 2013


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