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

Is e-filing a better way to file your taxes? 

Americans and the IRS may not agree about everything, but they’re mostly on the exact same page in regards to e-filing individual income tax returns.

Nearly all individual income tax returns submitted to the IRS are e-filed.  E-filing is popular as it is a win-win for taxpayers and the IRS.

In return, you could find any refund you’re owed faster, especially in the event that you have it directly deposited to your bank accounts.

However, what about safety?  And can electronic filing actually give you access to all the forms that you may need if you’ve got a intricate tax situation?  Are there situations when you can’t e-file?  Let’s look at the benefits of e-filing, and whether it might be the best filing option for your requirements.

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

  1. Quick confirmation your forms are obtained: The IRS will confirm a tax filing was received within 24 hours of digital submission.  For paper filers, the IRS doesn’t send any acknowledgment your forms have arrived . 

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

  2. Reduced chance of errors: According to the IRS, there is around a 1% error rate on e-filed returns, compared with a 20% speed of errors on paper filings.  The IRS also provides more info on problems discovered on e-filed yields compared with paper returns.

  3. Easy payment process: If you owe the IRS money, it’s easier to pay at your advantage when you e-file.  You can submit returns early and pay afterwards if needed, as long as you pay by the April 15 filing deadline.  And you’re able to schedule electronic money transfers to easily send the IRS what you owe on a date of your choosing again, provided that the IRS receives your payment by Tax Day. You also have the choice to pay your balance by making use of the IRS Immediate pay service from the checking account or savings accounts, submitting a credit card through a payment processor for a fee, or paying by check or money order. 

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

The fantastic news: Most taxpayers do decide to e-file and get those benefits — and the process of doing so is easy.

How to e-file a tax return?

The forms do the math for you and provide standard advice.  You can simply do your federal return with all these forms. 

  • Utilize an internet tax preparation tax or service applications: Tax prep software and online filing services are options.  These options are an easy way to finish and e-file your forms.  Some software suppliers charge for their apps, Some are liberated.   The program asks you simple questions about your own life and finances to steer you through the completion of your types.  
  • Get complimentary, in-person tax help: In most states, you can find volunteers to help prepare and e-file returns.  However, eligibility for free help is typically limited based on income, and some services cater to specific demographic groups.  The IRS maintains a record of licensed providers, but you should be aware this alternative is very likely to be the most costly one. 

    Employing online tax prep software is far and away the preferred approach of most taxpayers.  Actually, the IRS says it expected more than four in five tax returns to be filed through tax return prep software.

    Is e-filing really secure?

    While e-filing is convenient, you may worry about safety — especially with all these data breaches.  But experts agree this isn’t a problem that should deter you by e-filing.

    “In fact, it can be more secure than paper filing since you’re sending your private information through an encrypted system rather than exposing your data in the mail.”

    Dennis Chow, vice president of data security at SCIS Security, clarifies the IRS has put security measures in place to keep your information secure.  “Trainers normally use IRS specific APIs that require token sessions,” Chow says.  “All of this is routed over TLS encrypted connections”

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

    Bottom line

    For most taxpayers, it makes sense to e-file a return 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 that you use tax planning software from a trusted source, so that you may ensure the information which you supply to transmit to the IRS will be kept secure.