Ben Stein’s Diary – 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 are mostly on the same page when it comes to e-filing individual income tax returns.

The majority of individual income tax returns filed to the IRS are e-filed.  E-filing is popular because it’s a win-win for taxpayers and the IRS.

And in return, you can get any refund you are owed faster, especially if you have it directly deposited into your bank account.

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

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

  1. Quick affirmation your forms are obtained: The IRS will confirm a tax filing was received within 24 hours of digital submission.  For paper filers, the IRS does not send any acknowledgment that your forms have arrived safely. 
  2. Timely refunds: When you submit a paper filing, it may take six to eight months to be given a tax refund.  With e-filing, you’ll receive your money in 3 weeks or not.  Choosing direct deposit can also speed up the refund process.

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

  4. Simple payment procedure: If you owe the IRS money, it’s easier 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 making use of the IRS Direct pay service from your checking or savings accounts, filing a credit card through a payment processor for a fee, or paying by check or money order. 

  5. Digital storage of taxation data: Submitting returns electronically means there is an electronic backup of your tax documents.  So if something happens to your paperwork, then you will have an electronic backup.

The fantastic news: Most taxpayers do decide to e-file and find those advantages — and the practice of doing this is easy.

The way to e-file a tax return?

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

  • Free File Fillable Types — If your income is more than $72,000 and you are comfortable doing your earnings without any assistance, you can use Free File Fillable Forms from the IRS. The types do the math for you and offer standard guidance.  You can only do your federal return with these forms. 
  • Utilize an internet tax preparation service or tax software: Tax prep software and online filing services are alternatives.  These options are an easy way to finish and e-file your own forms.  Some software suppliers charge for their programs, Some are liberated.   The software asks you simple questions about your life and financing to guide 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 normally restricted based on income, and some services appeal to specific demographic groups.  By way of instance, 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 yields for you if they’re authorized IRS e-file providers. The IRS maintains a database of authorized providers, but you should be aware this option is very likely to be the most costly one. 
  • Employing online tax preparation software is far and away the favored approach of the majority of taxpayers.  In fact, the IRS says it anticipated more than four in five tax returns to be submitted through tax return prep program.

    Is e-filing really secure?

    While e-filing is convenient, you may be worried about security — particularly with so many data breaches.  But experts agree this isn’t an issue that should deter you from e-filing.

    “E-filing a tax return has proven to be an extremely secure way to file your taxes,” says Scott Grissom, vice president of product leadership, marketing and sales at LegalShield. “In actuality, it can be more secure than paper filing as you’re sending your private information through an encrypted system as opposed to exposing your information in the email.”

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

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

    Bottom line

    For many 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 effortless payment choices.  Just make certain to use tax planning software from a dependable source, so that you may ensure the information you provide to transmit to the IRS will be kept protected.