It’s definitely nice that you can pay your taxes online nowadays – it saves a lot of time and it’s pretty hassle-free.
But all that convenience comes with a price – the security of your online data. If you’re not careful, hackers could spy on your traffic and steal important data from you. And being left penniless is the last thing you want as an expat.
In this guide, we’ll show you how to securely pay your taxes online. We’ll also tell you why you need to do this.
How to Pay Your Taxes Securely Online
The best way to do that is to use a VPN. If you don’t know what that is, here’s a quick definition: it’s an online security tool that hides your IP address and encrypts your traffic. Basically, it stops anyone on the web from seeing your geo-location (your IP reveals it) and monitoring your traffic (if they try to do that, they’ll only see gibberish).
VPNs are essential security tools – they protect your traffic on all networks (at home, mobile data, public WiFi, etc.). You’ll be able to do your taxes securely no matter where you are!
Also, some VPNs have ad blockers. These features (besides blocking ads) also block connections to malicious sites. So hackers won’t be able to target you with MITM attacks to try and redirect your traffic to fake phishing sites. If they try to do that, your connections will just be blocked by the ad blockers.
There are tons of VPNs on the market, but we recommend sticking to the top ones – ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and Surfshark. Surfshark allows unlimited connections with one account, which means you can use it on as many devices as you want (most VPNs only allow five-seven simultaneous connections).
How to Use a VPN to Pay Your Taxes Securely Online
Don’t worry – using a VPN isn’t difficult. You won’t need to read a long tutorial or get used to complicated setups and apps. To use a VPN to do your taxes, just follow these four steps:
- Subscribe to a secure VPN.
- Download and install the VPN’s app.
- Use the app to connect to a VPN server (the closest one is the fastest).
- Do your taxes securely (the VPN will encrypt your traffic).
Hint: Use an Antivirus Program Too
While VPNs are excellent online security tools, they can’t prevent malware infections. They can block traffic to and from malicious sites, sure, but if you somehow install a malicious file on your device, there’s nothing a VPN can do to protect you.
Only an antivirus program can detect and get rid of malware on your device. So make sure you install this software and keep it running at all times (alongside the VPN). Plus, most antivirus programs have features that block malicious sites – so you get extra protection alongside the VPN’s ad blockers.
If you experience connectivity issues while using the VPN together with the antivirus, just whitelist the VPN program inside the security software. Do not disable the antivirus while you use the VPN (that’s not safe).
Why Do You Need to Secure Your Traffic When Paying Your Taxes?
Because, unfortunately, the Internet isn’t as safe as you’d think. It’s convenient, sure, but it’s also full of hackers who can’t wait to steal sensitive data from you.
Like most people, you’ll probably use public WiFi to do your taxes if you’re on the go. Well, that’s not safe at all – public WiFi often doesn’t use encryption (you don’t need a password to use the network). That means your traffic is exposed, and any hacker could use a packet sniffer to steal important data from you (like credit card numbers, social security numbers, bank account details, login credentials, and more).
Okay, so you’re going to use your home’s encrypted network. You should be safe, right?
Not really. Your network probably uses WPA2 or WPA3 for security. Well, neither of those encryption standards is completely safe to use. WPA2 is vulnerable to a serious cyber attack, and WPA3 has security holes that allow cybercriminals to recover WiFi passwords. A skilled hacker could take advantage of that to compromise your network and steal sensitive data from you.
So bottom line – it’s just not safe to do your taxes online without using a VPN. It encrypts your traffic, so cybercriminals can’t see it anymore – yes, even if you use unsecured public WiFi.
Can You Do Your Taxes with a Free VPN?
You can, but we don’t recommend doing that. Free VPNs aren’t safe to use – they lack important security features, expose you to ads, log and sell your data, and can even infect your device with malware.
What’s more, free VPNs have slow speeds, bandwidth caps, buggy apps that crash a lot, and non-existent customer support (expect to hear back from them in a few days over email).
Can You Do Your Taxes with Tor?
Tor is a privacy tool that encrypts your traffic multiple times and hides your IP address. However, Tor can leak user IPs so it’s not completely safe to use (VPNs have leak protection to prevent that from happening).
Besides that, Tor is extremely slow, and there’s a chance the sites you use to do your taxes block Tor traffic and IPs (Tor is often associated with illegal activities). All in all, it’s just better to use a VPN instead.
Doing your taxes on the Internet is convenient but not 100% safe. To make sure your data is safe and sound, please use a VPN (it encrypts all your data). If you know other ways to protect your data, please mention them in the comments.
Also Read: 5 Ways a VPN Can Help You Stay Safe Online