Ask Suze Orman Email – Is It Best To E-File My Taxes?

Is e-filing really a much better way to record your taxes? 

Americans and the IRS may not agree on everything, but they’re mostly on precisely the exact same page when it comes to e-filing individual income tax returns.

The majority of individual income tax returns filed to the IRS are e-filed. 

And in return, you can get any refund you are owed faster, especially if you have it directly deposited to your bank accounts.

But what about safety?  And can digital filing actually give you access to all of the forms you may need in case you’ve got a complex tax situation?  Are there situations when you can’t e-file?  Let us look at the advantages of e-filing, and if it may be the best filing choice for your needs.

If you’re Considering e-filing, some of the advantages include:

  1. Quick affirmation your forms have been received: The IRS will affirm a tax filing has been received within one day of digital submission.  For paper filers, the IRS doesn’t send any acknowledgment that your forms have arrived safely. 

    Timely refunds: When you publish a paper filing, it may take six to eight weeks to receive a tax refund.  With e-filing, you are going to get your money in 3 weeks or not.  Choosing direct deposit can also speed up the refund procedure.

  2. Reduced likelihood of errors: In accordance with the IRS, there is around a 1% error rate on e-filed yields, compared with a 20% rate of mistakes on paper filings.  The IRS also provides more info on issues discovered on e-filed returns compared with paper yields.

  3. Simple payment process: If you owe the IRS money, it is easier to pay at your advantage when you e-file.  You can submit returns early and pay afterwards if necessary, as long as you pay by the April 15 filing deadline.  You also have the option to pay your balance by using the IRS Direct pay service from your checking account or savings account, submitting a credit card through a payment processor for a commission, or paying by check or money order. 

  4. Digital storage of taxation data: Submitting returns electronically implies there is a digital backup of your tax records.  If something happens to your paperwork, you will have an electronic backup.

The good news: Most taxpayers do opt to e-file and find those advantages — and the process of doing so is easy.

  • Free File Fillable Forms — If your income is over $72,000 and you are comfortable doing your taxes without assistance, you can use Free File Fillable Forms from the IRS. The forms do the math for you and provide basic advice.  You can only do your federal return with these kinds. 
  • Use an internet tax preparation service or tax software: Tax prep software and online filing services are alternatives.  These options are an easy way to finish and e-file your forms.  Some software suppliers charge for their apps, Some are liberated.   The software asks you simple questions about your own life and financing to guide you through the completion of your forms.  
  • Get complimentary, in-person tax help: In most states, you can find volunteers to help prepare and e-file yields.  But eligibility for free help is typically limited based on income, and a few providers appeal to particular demographic groups.  The IRS maintains a database of authorized providers, but be aware this alternative is very likely to be the most costly one. 
  • Employing online tax prep software is far and away the favored approach of most taxpayers.  In fact, the IRS says it anticipated over four tax returns to be filed through tax return prep program.

    Is e-filing really stable?

    While e-filing is convenient, you could worry about security — particularly with so many data breaches.  But experts agree this is not an issue that should deter you from e-filing.

    “E-filing a tax return has turned out to be an extremely secure way to file your taxes,” says Scott Grissom, vice president of product direction, advertising and revenue at LegalShield. “In actuality, it may be more secure than paper filing since you’re sending your personal information through an encrypted system as opposed to exposing your information in the email.”

    Dennis Chow, vice president of information security at SCIS Security, explains the IRS has set safety measures in place to keep your information secure.  “Trainers normally use IRS specific APIs that need ab sessions,” Chow says.  “All of this can be routed over TLS encrypted links .”

    It is very important to use a trustworthy service that will assist you file your taxes.  Chow advises not to e-file on a computer or use an online connection which isn’t confidential.

    Bottom line

    For many taxpayers, it makes sense to e-file a return since it is the most convenient way to submit your tax information to the IRS and it allows for timely refunds and effortless payment choices.  Just be certain that you use tax planning software from a trusted source, so that you can make certain the information you provide to transmit to the IRS is going to be kept protected.