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Tax season is in full swing, which means we are collaborating with our clients everyday. For many, the tool of choice for sharing information electronically will be e-mail. It is quick, easy and everyone has it. However, when relying on e-mail to share personal information such as Social Security numbers, financial statements and 1098 forms, individuals are putting themselves at risk. Why? Because e-mail is not secure.

When you send an e-mail it travels over many different servers before the message reaches its intended recipient. At any point during this travel an e-mail message can be intercepted. There is an additional security issue for users of Google’s e-mail service, Gmail. As stated in Google’s user agreement, Google’s system scans the content of e-mails stored on its servers as well as those being sent and received by any Google e-mail account (i.e., Gmail).

Another problem with e-mail is the lack of control over what is sent. A user can’t “unsend” a message once they click send. Therefore, if a Form 8879 or other document containing personal information for one individual is accidently sent to another individual, there is nothing that can be done to pull the message back once you click send. With e-mail it is also impossible to control the forwarding of information or the possibility of something being printed.

Significant advances have been made in file sharing technology and solutions do exist that are truly easy to use, affordable, and highly secure. However, with so many options, finding the right solution can be a difficult and confusing undertaking.

As a client of Clergy Financial Resources, we will grant you permission to access CyberCabinet Plus– primarily for tax return and document storage but also File Exchange.

The CyberCabinet Plus is an extension of our website and provides a solution for us to share and exchange electronic documents securely and quickly. It also allows a reduction in environmental waste by corresponding electronically instead of handling paper (e.g., less use of paper and less vehicle emissions to have documents delivered). Unlike emails and their attachments, CyberCabinet Plus uses encryption technology so you will have confidence knowing that the information is secure when transferred back and forth.

Hackers are getting better and better, and the repercussions of an attack are getting worse. Having a secure system in place that encrypts information is no longer deemed a competitive advantage; it is mandatory.

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Clergy Financial Resources serves as a resource for clients to help analyze the complexity of clergy tax law, church payroll & HR issues. Our professionals are committed to helping clients stay informed about tax news, developments and trends in various specialty areas.

This article is intended to provide readers with guidance in tax matters. The article does not constitute, and should not be treated as professional advice regarding the use of any particular tax technique. Every effort has been made to assure the accuracy of the information. Clergy Financial Resources and the author do not assume responsibility for any individual’s reliance upon the information provided in the article. Readers should independently verify all information before applying it to a particular fact situation, and should independently determine the impact of any particular tax planning technique. If you are seeking legal advice, you are encouraged to consult an attorney.

For more information or if you need additional assistance, please use the contact information below.

Clergy Financial Resources
11214 86th Avenue N.
Maple Grove, MN 55369

Tel: (763) 425-8778 
Fax: (888) 876-5101
Email: clientservices@clergyfinancial.com