Ben Stein Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – 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 about everything, but they are mostly on the exact same page in regards to e-filing individual income tax returns.

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

In return, you could find any refund you’re owed faster, particularly in the event that you have it directly deposited into your bank account.

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

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

  1. Quick confirmation your forms have been received: 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 . 
  2. 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 receive your money in three weeks or not.  Choosing direct deposit can also speed up the refund process.

  3. Reduced chance of errors: 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 info on problems discovered on e-filed returns compared with paper returns.

  4. Simple payment procedure: If you owe the IRS money, it’s easier to cover at your advantage if you e-file.  It’s possible to submit returns early and pay later if necessary, as long as you pay from the April 15 filing deadline.  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 fee, or paying by check or money order. 

  5. Digital storage of tax data: Submitting returns electronically means there is an electronic backup of your tax records.  If something happens to your paperwork, then you’ll have a digital backup.

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

How to e-file a tax return?

You have four choices for filing an electronically filed tax return to the IRS.

    1. Utilize IRS Free File: If your adjusted gross income is $72,000 or less you may be able to use the IRS Free File program.  The types do the math for you and provide standard guidance.  You can simply do your federal return with all these forms. 
    2. Utilize an internet tax preparation tax or service software: Tax prep software and online filing services are options.  These options are an easy way to finish and e-file your forms.  Some software providers charge for their apps, Some are liberated.   The software asks you simple questions about your life and financing to guide you through the completion of your forms.  
    3. Get free, in-person tax aid: In most states, you can find volunteers to help prepare and e-file yields.  However, eligibility for free help is normally restricted based on income, and some providers cater to particular demographic groups. 
    4. Hire a paid preparer: Paid tax preparers, such as CPAs, can e-file returns for you if they’re licensed IRS e-file providers. The IRS maintains a record of licensed providers, but you should be aware this alternative is likely to be the most costly one. 

Using online tax prep software is far and away the favored approach of most taxpayers.  In fact, the IRS says it anticipated more than four tax returns to be submitted through tax return prep software.

Is e-filing really secure?

While e-filing is suitable, you could be worried about safety — especially with all these data breaches.  But experts agree this isn’t an issue which should deter you from e-filing.

“In actuality, it can be more secure than paper filing as you’re sending your private information through an encrypted network as opposed to exposing your data in the mail.”

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

It is important to employ a trusted service to assist you record your taxes.  Chow advises to not e-file on a computer or use an internet connection that is not confidential.

Bottom line

For many taxpayers, it makes sense to e-file a yield 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 make certain that you use tax planning software from a trusted source, so you can make certain the information which you supply to transmit to the IRS is going to be kept secure.