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

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 precisely 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 as it’s a win-win for taxpayers and the IRS.

And in return, you could find any refund you are owed quicker, particularly if you have it directly deposited into your bank account.

However, what about safety?  And can electronic filing really provide you access to all the forms that you might need if you have a intricate tax situation?  Are there ever situations when you can’t e-file?  Let us look at the benefits of e-filing, and if it might be the best filing option for your needs.

If you are 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 your forms have arrived . 

    Timely refunds: When you submit 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 accelerate the refund process.

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

  3. Simple payment process: If you owe the IRS money, it’s easier to pay at your convenience when you e-file.  You can submit returns early and pay afterwards if needed, provided that you pay by the April 15 filing deadline.  Additionally you have the choice to pay your balance by using the IRS Immediate pay service from your checking account 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 means there’s an electronic backup of your tax documents.  So if something happens to your paperwork, then you will have a digital backup.

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

How to e-file a tax return?

  • Free File Fillable Forms — If your income is over $72,000 and you’re comfortable doing your earnings without assistance, you can use Free File Fillable Forms from the IRS. The types do the math for you and offer basic advice.  You can simply do your federal return with all these kinds. 
  • Utilize an internet tax preparation service or tax software: Tax preparation software and online filing services are options.  These choices are an easy way to finish and e-file your own forms.  Some applications providers charge for their apps, Some are free.   The program asks you simple questions about your life and finances to guide you through the completion of your types.  
  • Get complimentary, in-person tax help: In most states, you will find volunteers to help prepare and e-file returns.  However, eligibility for free help is typically limited based on earnings, and a few services appeal to particular demographic groups.  For instance, Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs focus primarily on assisting filers who are 60 and older. 
  • Hire a paid preparer: Paid tax preparers, such as CPAs, can e-file returns for you if they’re authorized IRS e-file providers. The IRS maintains a database of authorized 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 the majority of taxpayers.  In fact, the IRS says it expected more than four in five tax returns to be submitted through tax return prep program.

    Is e-filing really stable?

    While e-filing is suitable, you may be worried about safety — particularly with all these data breaches.  But experts agree this is not a problem which should dissuade you by e-filing.

    “E-filing a tax return has proven to be a very secure way to file your taxes,” says Scott Grissom, vice president of product leadership, marketing and revenue at LegalShield. “In fact, 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 email.”

    Dennis Chow, vice president of information security at SCIS Security, clarifies the IRS has set safety measures in place to keep your data secure.  “Vendors typically utilize IRS specific APIs that need ab sessions,” Chow says.  “All of this can be routed over TLS encrypted connections”

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

    Bottom line

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