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

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

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

Nearly all individual income tax returns submitted to the IRS are e-filed. 

When you e-file your federal income tax return, you conserve the IRS cash because its employees don’t have to spend time manually processing your return. In return, you could find any refund you are owed quicker, particularly in the event that you have it directly deposited into your bank accounts.

But what about safety?  And can digital filing really give you access to all of the forms you may need if you have a complex tax situation?  Are there ever situations when you can’t e-file?  Let’s look at the benefits of e-filing, and whether it may be the best filing choice for your needs.

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

  1. Quick confirmation your forms have been obtained: The IRS will affirm a tax filing was received within 24 hours of digital submission.  For paper filers, the IRS does not send any acknowledgment your forms have arrived safely. 

    Timely refunds: When you submit a paper filing, it can take six to eight weeks to receive a tax refund.  With e-filing, you are going to receive your money in three weeks or less.  Choosing direct deposit may also speed up the refund procedure.

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

  3. Simple payment process: If you owe the IRS money, it is simpler to cover at your convenience if you e-file.  It’s possible to submit returns early and pay afterwards if needed, provided that you pay from the April 15 filing deadline.  Additionally you have the choice to pay your balance by using the IRS Direct pay service from the checking 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 penalties and interest.

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

The fantastic news: Most taxpayers do opt to e-file and get those benefits — and the practice of doing this is easy.

How to e-file a tax return?

  • Free File Fillable Types — If your income is over $72,000 and you are comfortable doing your earnings without assistance, you can use Free File Fillable Forms from the IRS. The forms do the math for you and provide standard guidance.  You can only do your federal return with all these kinds. 
  • Utilize an internet tax preparation service or tax applications: Tax preparation software and online filing services are options.  These choices are a simple way to finish and e-file your forms.  Some applications providers charge for their apps, Some are free.   The program asks you simple questions about your life and financing to steer you through the completion of your forms.  
  • Get complimentary, in-person tax aid: In most states, you will 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 specific demographic groups.  By way of example, Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs focus primarily on assisting filers that are 60 and older.  The IRS maintains a record of licensed providers, but be aware this alternative is very likely to be the most costly one. 

    Using online tax preparation software is far and away the preferred approach of most taxpayers.  In fact, the IRS says it expected over four tax returns to be filed through tax return prep program.

    Is e-filing really secure?

    While e-filing is convenient, you may worry about safety — particularly with so many data breaches.  But experts agree that this is not a problem which should dissuade you by e-filing.

    “In fact, it may be more secure than paper filing as you’re sending your personal information through an encrypted network rather than exposing your data 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 safe.  “Trainers normally use IRS specific APIs that require ab sessions,” Chow says.  “All of this is routed over TLS encrypted connections”

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

    Bottom line

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