Ben Stein Christmas – Is It Best To E-File My Taxes?

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

Americans and the IRS might not agree about everything, but they are 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. 

When you e-file your federal income tax return, you save the IRS money because its workers do not need to spend time manually processing your return. And in return, you can get any refund you are owed quicker, especially in the event that you have it directly deposited to your bank account.

However, what about security?  And can electronic filing actually give you access to all of the forms you may need in case you have a complex tax situation?  Are there ever situations when you can’t e-file?  Let us look at the benefits of e-filing, and whether it might be the very best filing option for your requirements.

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

  1. Quick affirmation your forms are received: The IRS will confirm a tax filing has been received within 24 hours of electronic submission.  For paper filers, the IRS does not send any acknowledgment that your forms have arrived safely. 

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

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

  3. Easy payment procedure: If you owe the IRS money, it is simpler to pay at your convenience when you e-file.  You can submit returns early and pay afterwards if needed, 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, as long as the IRS receives your payment by Tax Day. Additionally you have the option to pay your balance by making use of the IRS Direct pay service from your checking account or savings accounts, submitting a credit card through a payment processor for a commission, or paying by check or money order.  Just be aware delaying payment after the filing due date (typically April 15) can lead to interest and penalties.

  4. Digital storage of tax information: Submitting returns electronically implies there is an electronic backup of your tax documents.  So if something happens to your paperwork, you will have an electronic backup.

The fantastic news: Most taxpayers do decide to e-file and find those advantages — and the process of doing so is simple.

The way to e-file a tax return?

  • Free File Fillable Types — If your income is over $72,000 and you are comfortable doing your taxes without any help, you can use Free File Fillable Forms from the IRS. The forms do the math for you and provide basic guidance.  You can simply do your federal return with all these forms. 
  • Utilize an online tax preparation tax or service applications: Tax preparation software and online filing services are options.  These choices are an easy way to complete and e-file your own forms.  Some software providers charge for their programs, Some are free.   The program asks you simple questions about your own life and finances to steer you through the completion of your forms.  
  • Get free, in-person tax help: In most states, you can find volunteers to help prepare and e-file yields.  However, eligibility for free aid is typically limited based on earnings, and a few services appeal to particular demographic groups.  By way of example, Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs focus primarily on helping filers who are 60 and older. 
  • Hire a paid preparer: Paid tax preparers, including CPAs, can e-file returns for you if they are licensed IRS e-file providers. The IRS maintains a record of licensed providers, but be aware this option is likely to be the most costly one. 
  • Using online tax prep software is far and away the favored approach of the majority of taxpayers.  In fact, the IRS says it expected more than four in five tax returns to be submitted through tax return prep software.

    Is e-filing really stable?

    While e-filing is suitable, you could be worried about safety — particularly with so many data breaches.  But experts agree this isn’t a problem which should dissuade 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 leadership, advertising and revenue at LegalShield. “In actuality, it can be more secure than paper filing since you’re sending your private information through an encrypted network rather than exposing your data in the email.”

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

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

    Bottom line

    For many taxpayers, it is sensible to e-file a yield since it’s the most convenient way to file your tax information to the IRS and it allows for timely refunds and effortless payment choices.  Just make certain to use tax preparation software from a trusted source, so that you can make certain the information which you supply to transmit to the IRS will be kept protected.