I-Can! E-File Not Quite Ready For Primetime

Last week we wrote about I-Can! E-File, a free electronic filing service for your federal income taxes. It’s a great idea, and we’re thankful to the Legal Aid Society of Orange County for doing something like this—but you might want to find an alternative this year and give them some time to work out the kinks. Today a reader emailed us to point out that icanefile.org’s password system can be easily cracked, because instead of letting you choose an original password, it requires you to use your name and social security number to set up an account.

I went ahead and used their site to file without much trouble (my taxes are pretty easy) but I noticed a very serious security issue with the site.

To log into the site and access your account information, you just need to provide your name and social security number. Your account is not protected by a password of your own choosing. Unfortunately, this isn’t readily apparent until you’ve created an account. Anyone who knows your name and soc sec can pretty much find out everything else there is to know about you if you use this site to do your taxes.

While I appreciate the free e-filing, I would like my personal information to have just a little more security.

In addition, Consumerist Commenter Bah discovered a bug in their software that messed up his return, which could have led to him filing an incorrect return if he hadn’t caught it:

I entered everything into I-Can and got a big refund… which, sadly, doesn’t sound right. I double-checked in TurboTax and, sure enough, I owe a little bit. I used I-Can’s online chat support to find out what went wrong, and they were entirely unhelpful. Basically, the line in the summary for my total income (which he told me was my total taxable income) would, according to the IRS tax tables, be a lot more than my withholding, meaning no refund for me.

follow-up: according to their Email tech support (which I had already discovered on my own), their software just didn’t input my 1099-MISC onto the actual document. So BEWARE — read very carefully through the actual forms it generates before free-filing.

“I-CAN! Files Your State And Federal Tax Returns For Free”
(Photo: paolo margari)