Is e-filing a better way to file your taxes?
Americans and the IRS may not agree on everything, but they’re mostly on the same page in regards to e-filing individual income tax returns.
The majority of individual income tax returns filed to the IRS are e-filed.
In return, you could get any refund you are owed faster, particularly in the event that you have it directly deposited to your bank account.
But what about safety? And can electronic filing actually provide you access to all the forms that you might need if you have a intricate tax situation? Are there situations when you can’t e-file? Let’s look at the advantages of e-filing, and whether it may be the best filing option for your requirements.
If you’re thinking about e-filing, some of the advantages include:
- Quick affirmation your forms are received: The IRS will affirm a tax filing was received within one day of electronic submission. For paper filers, the IRS doesn’t send any acknowledgment that your forms have arrived safely.
Timely refunds: When you publish a paper filing, it can take six to eight months to be given a tax refund. With e-filing, you are going to receive your money in 3 weeks or less. Choosing direct deposit may also accelerate the refund procedure.
Reduced chance of errors: In accordance with the IRS, there is around a 1 percent error rate on e-filed returns, compared with a 20% speed of mistakes on paper filings. The IRS also provides more info on problems discovered on e-filed returns compared with paper returns.
Easy payment process: If you owe the IRS money, it’s easier to cover at your convenience if you e-file. You can submit returns early and pay afterwards if needed, as long as you pay by the April 15 filing deadline. And you’re able to schedule electronic funds transfers to 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 making use of the IRS Immediate pay service from your checking account or savings account, submitting a credit card through a payment processor for a commission, or paying by check or money order.
Digital storage of tax information: Submitting returns electronically implies there is a digital copy of your tax documents. So if something happens to your paperwork, you’ll have an electronic backup.
The good news: Most taxpayers do decide to e-file and find those advantages — and the practice of doing this is simple.
You have four choices for submitting an electronically filed tax return to the IRS.
- Utilize IRS Free File: If your adjusted gross income is $72,000 or less you may have the ability to use the IRS Free File program.
- Free File Fillable Forms — If your income is over $72,000 and you’re comfortable doing your earnings without any assistance, you can use Free File Fillable Forms from the IRS. The forms do the math for you and offer standard guidance. You can only do your federal return with all these forms.
- Use an internet tax preparation service or tax software: Tax preparation software and online filing services are options. These choices are an easy way to complete and e-file your own forms. Some applications suppliers charge for their programs, Some are free. The program asks you simple questions about your life and finances to steer you through the completion of your types.
- Get free, in-person tax help: In most states, you will find volunteers to help prepare and e-file yields. However, eligibility for free aid is normally restricted based on earnings, and some services appeal to particular demographic groups. For example, Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs focus primarily on assisting filers that are 60 and older.
- Hire a paid preparer: Paid tax preparers, such as CPAs, can e-file yields for you if they’re licensed IRS e-file providers. The IRS maintains a database of licensed providers, but be aware this alternative is very likely to be the most costly one.
Using online tax prep software is far and away the preferred approach of most taxpayers. In fact, the IRS says it expected more than four tax returns to be filed through tax return prep software.
Is e-filing really stable?
While e-filing is suitable, you may be worried about security — especially with so many data breaches. But experts agree that this is not a problem that should dissuade you from e-filing.
“E-filing a tax return has turned out to be an extremely secure way to file your taxes,” states Scott Grissom, vice president of product leadership, advertising and sales at LegalShield. “In fact, it can be more secure than paper filing since 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 put safety measures in place to keep your information secure. “Vendors typically utilize IRS particular APIs that require token sessions,” Chow says. “All this is routed over TLS encrypted connections.”
It’s important to use a trusted service that will help you file your taxes. Chow advises to not e-file on a public computer or utilize an online connection that is not private.
For most taxpayers, it is sensible to e-file a return 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 be certain to use tax preparation software from a trusted source, so you may make certain the information you provide to transmit to the IRS is going to be kept protected.