Brian Tracy Christian – Should I E-file My Taxes Online

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

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

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

And in return, you can get any refund you’re owed quicker, especially if you have it directly deposited into your bank accounts.

However, what about security?  And can electronic filing really give you access to all the forms you might need in case you’ve got a intricate tax situation?  Are there situations when you can not 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’re thinking about e-filing, a Few of the advantages include:

  1. Quick confirmation your forms have been obtained: 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 that your forms have arrived safely. 

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

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

  3. Easy payment procedure: If you owe the IRS money, it is easier to pay at your convenience if 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.  You also have the option to pay your balance by using the IRS Direct pay service from the checking account or savings account, submitting a credit card through a payment processor for a commission, or paying by check or money order.  Just be aware delaying payment following the filing due date (typically April 15) can result in penalties and interest.

  4. Digital storage of taxation data: Submitting returns electronically means there’s an electronic backup of your tax records.  If something happens to your paperwork, then you will have an electronic backup.

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

The way to e-file a tax return?

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

The forms do the math for you and provide standard guidance.  You can only do your federal return with all these forms. 

  • Utilize an online tax preparation service or tax software: Tax prep software and online filing services are alternatives.  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 software asks you simple questions about your own life and finances to steer you through the completion of your forms.  
  • Get complimentary, in-person tax help: In most states, you can 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. 
  • Hire a paid preparer: Paid tax preparers, including CPAs, can e-file returns for you if they’re licensed IRS e-file providers. The IRS maintains a database of authorized providers, but be aware this option is very likely to be the most costly one. 
  • Employing online tax prep software is far and away the favored approach of the majority of taxpayers.  In fact, the IRS says it anticipated more than four tax returns to be filed through tax return prep software.

    Is e-filing really stable?

    While e-filing is convenient, you may be worried about safety — particularly with all these data breaches.  But experts agree this isn’t an issue which should deter you by e-filing.

    “In actuality, it may be more secure than paper filing since you’re sending your personal information through an encrypted network as opposed to exposing your information in the email.”

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

    It’s very important to use a trusted service that will help you record your taxes.  Chow advises to not e-file on a public computer or utilize an internet connection that is not private.

    Bottom line

    For many taxpayers, it makes sense to e-file a return because it is the most convenient way to submit your tax information to the IRS and it allows for timely refunds and easy payment options.  Just make certain that you use tax preparation software from a dependable source, so you may ensure the information you supply to transmit to the IRS is going to be kept protected.