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

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

Americans and the IRS may not agree on everything, but they’re mostly on 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.  E-filing is a favorite as it’s a win-win for taxpayers and the IRS.

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

However, what about safety?  And can digital filing actually provide you access to all of the forms you might need in case you’ve got a complex tax situation?  Are there situations when you can not e-file?  Let us look at the benefits of e-filing, and if it might be the best filing choice for your requirements.

If you’re thinking about 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 electronic submission.  For paper filers, the IRS does not send any acknowledgment your forms have arrived safely. 

    Timely refunds: When you publish a paper filing, it may take six to eight months to be given a tax refund.  With e-filing, you are going to get your money in 3 weeks or less.  Choosing direct deposit may also accelerate the refund process.

  2. Reduced chance of mistakes: According to the IRS, there’s approximately a 1 percent error rate on e-filed returns, compared with a 20% rate of mistakes 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 advantage when you e-file.  It’s possible to submit returns early and pay later if needed, provided that 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 using the IRS Immediate pay service from the checking or savings account, filing a credit card through a payment processor for a fee, or paying by check or money order. 

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

The good news: Most taxpayers do opt to e-file and get those advantages — and the practice of doing so is simple.

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

  • Utilize an online tax preparation tax or service software: Tax prep software and online filing services are options.  These options are a simple way to finish and e-file your forms.  Some software suppliers charge for their apps, Some are free.   The program asks you simple questions about your own life and financing to steer you through the completion of your types.  
  • Get free, in-person tax aid: In most states, you will find volunteers to help prepare and e-file returns.  But eligibility for free help is typically limited based on earnings, and a few services appeal to specific demographic groups.  The IRS maintains a database of licensed providers, but you should be aware this alternative is likely to be the most costly one. 
  • Employing online tax preparation software is far and away the preferred approach of most taxpayers.  Actually, 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 suitable, you may be worried about security — especially with so many data breaches.  But experts agree this is not an issue which should deter you from 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 mail.”

    Dennis Chow, vice president of data security at SCIS Security, explains the IRS has put security measures in place to keep your data secure.  “Vendors typically utilize IRS specific APIs that need token sessions,” Chow says.  “All of this is routed over TLS encrypted links “

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

    Bottom line

    For most taxpayers, it makes sense to e-file a yield since it is the most convenient way to submit your tax information to the IRS and it allows for timely refunds and easy payment choices.  Just make certain that you use tax preparation software from a dependable source, so that you can ensure the information you provide to transmit to the IRS is going to be kept secure.