Faculty & Departments

Sensitive Data Issues

U.S. tax returns require a tax ID number to be included in all returns filed. The number is central to tax return filing and retrieval. Normally this ID number is a U.S. Social Security Number (SSN), but under some circumstances an SSN will not be obtainable and an individual tax payer identification number (ITIN) is awarded the tax payer based on proper application. Other highly sensitive data items are passport numbers and bank routing and account numbers for each tax payer.

Regardless of the type of number used, the ID number and others are highly personal, very important, and integral to a person's identity in US tax and business processing. Consequently, great care and security must be exercised in their use and any communication between taxpayer and tax preparer.

Because sensitive data are needed to file a tax return, a secure method of communicating this information must be used. For those on campus when their returns are prepared, the taxpayers themselves provide those numbers at the time of the tax appointment by bringing their SSN cards and other personal documents. See list of required documents.

To protect their privacy and the security of their information, those preparing their returns by email should follow the steps outlined in the procedure below.

Download the free 7-Zip compaction and encryption program from this web site. Scroll to the version suited to your operating system (Windows, MacIntosh, Linux). For Windows be sure to select the operating system size version [32-bit, 64-bit] appropriate to the physical computer you are using. Avoid any beta version on that page, which is under testing and may contain undiscovered problems. For Mac users note that there are at least 4 versions for different Mac operating systems. Select the version appropriate to your machine.

View or print and follow the 7-zip Encryption Instructions provided in this PDF file. Please note the request to use PDF files when sending your data. Do not send data in image files such as jpeg, etc. Formats other than PDF do not print legibly in most situations.

Send your encrypted file attached to an email to taptax@nd.edu.

Use the above process to send anything that contains sensitive data, which may be copies of your prior tax year's returns or any other forms that contain these items: US SSN, ndID number (not your netID), passport number, bank name, bank routing and account numbers. You can also use this process for any items that you wish to keep private from accidental viewing, even if they contain no highly sensitive data.