Sorting through the snail mail spam
An alleged tax wolf in sheep's clothing

Taking care of tax business

You roll into work. Drop your briefcase and/or purse at your desk. Head to the coffee room and fill up your mug. Chat with a few coworkers. Then back to your desk to work on your taxes.


That's what more than a third of the people who responded to a recent survey said they do.

St. Bernard Software heard from 525 workers on how their tax and work tasks coincide. Twenty percent said they plan to file their returns electronically using their office PC.

Office_cubicles2 Ah yes, one of the few cube farm perks: High-speed Internet connection. Just ask any online company about how its page visitor numbers spike around lunch time in each time zone.

Another 20 percent admit they have used the Web at work to research tax-related items.

And 36 percent of surveyed employees said they actually plan to schlep their tax documents to the office and spend at much as three hours working on their taxes at their desk.

And you thought your cube neighbor's loud phone conversations on supposedly private matters were the most brazen example of personal issues invading the workplace.

What's your job? OK, it's not exactly surfing porn sites or playing online poker. But, people, you're at work!

I'm not a big fan of big business, but when you take a job, especially one in an office, there are rules. And every company I've ever worked for has, to put it mildly, frowned on employees taking care of excessive personal duties while at work. They encourage you to use up those vacation or personal days.

If you persist on doing your business on your company's dime, you're likely to soon have only unemployment benefits to worry about paying taxes on. And you'll have to do those from home.

Full disclosure: St. Bernard Software, the company that commissioned the survey, has to be pretty pleased with the results. It is, according to its Web site, "a global provider of comprehensive security and hosted office solutions for small and midsize businesses."

Now I'm not saying the survey results were skewed. I'm just saying.

The press release announcing the tax-at-work survey results notes that St. Bernard "helps businesses increase employee productivity, enhance security against Internet-based threats, and monitor bandwidth usage."

In other words, St. Bernard will set your company up with a filtering system that will guard against spyware and other inappropriate content. "Inappropriate content." That's probably one of the nicest characterizations of anything tax-related I've ever heard.

And if you're not careful, your employer might go even further, putting in a keystroke logging program so Big Brother Boss can keep an eye on exactly what you're doing at your computer.

Online filing options: If you would like to file your taxes online, regardless of where your computer is located, PCWorld's review of online filing sites might come in handy.


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But I did my taxes at work! (I suppose at this point I should indicate that I'm currently working for a tax preparation company.)
Generally it's a bad idea to use a work computer for personal business. People can be and have been fired for inappropriate computer use on the job, and that's in no way limited to pornography or other adult impropriety.

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