Tuesday, January 16, 2007

E-Filing on Public Library Computers

PPM 807, our Internet Use Policy, states this about using library computers for personal business:

The Library is not responsible for any liability that may occur as a result of the disclosure of financial or personal information over the library's public computer services. Customers should be aware that use of public computers is not a secure medium and that third parties may be able to obtain information regarding customer's activities.
As tax season gets in full gear, we may have customers wanting to use our computers to e-file their taxes. We should not dissuade customers from using our computers to e-file, but we should inform them that they should close all browser windows when they are complete.

The IRS lists several companies that provide free e-filing services.

Here are some possible limitations that should be considered:
  • Is the customer's state covered? Scanning the list of companies, not all companies provide this service for Tennessee residents.
  • Does the company require you to download software? Our computers cannot allow someone to download software. I scanned a few of the companies that the IRS lists, and none of them required you to download software!
  • Will the customer be able to finish this important piece of personal business within the time frame of their computer reservation? Because you have to create a username and password for the companies I surveyed, customers would be able to save their work if they are not complete. They, of course, would need their username and password to log back in at a future time.
  • Does the customer have an e-mail address? If not, then a customer will need to register for one (making it harder to accomplish the task within the reserved time frame).
  • Does the customer have efficient computer skills? Not having certain computer skills will make some tasks longer to complete.

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