Is e-filing really a much better way to file your taxes?
Americans and the IRS may not agree about everything, but they’re largely on the exact same page in regards to e-filing individual income tax returns.
The majority of individual income tax returns filed to the IRS are e-filed.
If you e-file your federal income tax return, you save the IRS money because its employees do not have to spend time manually processing your return. And in return, you can find any refund you are owed quicker, particularly if you have it directly deposited into your bank account.
But what about security? And can electronic filing really provide you access to all the forms you may need in case you’ve got a complex tax situation? Are there ever situations when you can not e-file? Let’s look at the benefits of e-filing, and if it might be the best filing choice for your needs.
If you’re thinking about e-filing, some of the advantages include:
- Quick confirmation your forms are received: The IRS will affirm a tax filing has been received within 24 hours of digital submission. For paper filers, the IRS does not send any acknowledgment that your forms have arrived .
Timely refunds: When you submit a paper filing, it may take six to eight weeks to be given a tax refund. With e-filing, you are going to get your money in 3 weeks or not. Choosing direct deposit may also speed up the refund procedure.
Reduced chance of errors: In accordance with the IRS, there is approximately a 1% error rate on e-filed yields, compared with a 20% speed of mistakes on paper filings. The IRS also provides more info on issues discovered on e-filed yields compared with paper returns.
Simple payment procedure: If you owe the IRS money, it’s simpler to pay at your convenience when you e-file. It’s possible to submit returns early and pay afterwards if necessary, provided that you pay from the April 15 filing deadline. And you’re able to schedule electronic funds transfers to send the IRS what you owe on a date of your choosing — again, provided that the IRS receives your payment by Tax Day. Additionally you have the choice to pay your balance by using the IRS Immediate pay service from your checking or savings account, submitting a credit card through a payment processor for a fee, or paying by check or money order.
Digital storage of tax data: Submitting returns electronically implies there is an electronic backup of your tax documents. If something happens to your paperwork, then you will have an electronic backup.
The good news: Most taxpayers do decide to e-file and find those benefits — and the practice of doing so is easy.
- Utilize IRS Free File: If your adjusted gross income is $72,000 or not as you may be able to use the IRS Free File program.
- Free File Fillable Types — If your income is more than $72,000 and you’re comfortable doing your taxes without any help, you can use Free File Fillable Forms from the IRS. The types do the math for you and offer standard guidance. You can only do your federal return with all these forms.
- Use an online tax preparation tax or service applications: Tax preparation software and online filing services are alternatives. These options are a simple way to complete and e-file your own forms. Some applications providers charge for their apps, Some are free. The software asks you simple questions about your life and finances to guide you through the completion of your forms.
- Get free, in-person tax aid: In most states, you can find volunteers to help prepare and e-file returns. But eligibility for free aid is typically limited based on earnings, and a few providers appeal to specific demographic groups. For instance, Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs focus primarily on helping filers who are 60 and older.
- Hire a paid preparer: Paid tax preparers, such as CPAs, can e-file yields for you if they’re licensed IRS e-file providers. The IRS maintains a record of authorized providers, but you should be aware this option is very likely to be the most costly one.
Using online tax prep software is far and away the preferred approach of most taxpayers. In fact, the IRS says it anticipated more than four in five tax returns to be filed through tax return prep software.
Is e-filing really stable?
While e-filing is convenient, you could be worried about safety — especially with so many data breaches. But experts agree this isn’t a problem which should deter you by e-filing.
“E-filing a tax return has proven to be a very secure way to file your taxes,” states Scott Grissom, vice president of product direction, marketing and revenue at LegalShield. “In actuality, it may be more secure than paper filing as you’re sending your personal information through an encrypted network as opposed to exposing your information in the mail.”
Dennis Chow, vice president of information security at SCIS Security, clarifies that the IRS has set security measures in place to keep your data secure. “Trainers normally use IRS specific APIs that require token sessions,” Chow says. “All of this can be routed over TLS encrypted links .”
It’s very important to employ a trusted service to help you record your taxes. Chow advises to not e-file on a computer or use an online connection which is not private.
For most taxpayers, it makes sense to e-file a yield because it’s the most convenient way to file your tax information to the IRS and it allows for timely refunds and easy payment options. Just be certain to use tax preparation software from a dependable source, so that you may make certain the information you provide to transmit to the IRS is going to be kept protected.