Dale Carnegie Logo – Should I E-file My Taxes Online

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

Americans and the IRS may not agree about everything, but they are largely on the same page when it comes to e-filing individual income tax returns.

Nearly all individual income tax returns submitted to the IRS are e-filed.  E-filing is popular because it is a win-win for taxpayers and the IRS.

When you e-file your federal income tax return, you conserve the IRS money because its employees don’t need to spend time manually processing your return. And in return, you can get any refund you’re owed quicker, particularly if you have it directly deposited into your bank accounts.

But what about security?  And can digital filing actually give you access to all the forms you may need in case you have a complex tax situation?  Are there situations when you can’t e-file?  Let’s look at the advantages of e-filing, and whether it might be the very best filing choice for your requirements.

If you are thinking about e-filing, some of the advantages include:

  1. Quick confirmation your forms have been obtained: The IRS will affirm a tax filing was received within 24 hours of digital submission.  For paper filers, the IRS doesn’t send any acknowledgment that your forms have arrived . 
  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 get your money in three weeks or less.  Choosing direct deposit can also accelerate the refund process.

  3. Reduced likelihood of mistakes: In accordance with the IRS, there’s approximately a 1% error rate on e-filed yields, compared with a 20% speed 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 is easier to pay at your convenience when you e-file.  You can submit returns early and pay later if necessary, provided that you pay by the April 15 filing deadline.  You also 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 tax information: Submitting returns electronically means there is a digital backup of your tax documents.  If something happens to your paperwork, you’ll have a digital backup.

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

The way to e-file a tax return?

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

  • Free File Fillable Types — If your income is more than $72,000 and you’re comfortable doing your taxes without assistance, you can use Free File Fillable Forms from the IRS. The types do the math for you and offer standard advice.  You can simply do your federal return with these forms. 
  • Utilize an online tax preparation tax or service applications: Tax preparation software and online filing services are options.  These choices are a simple way to complete and e-file your forms.  Some applications providers charge for their programs, Some are liberated.   The program asks you simple questions about your own life and financing to guide you through the completion of your types.  
  • Get free, in-person tax help: In most states, you can find volunteers to help prepare and e-file returns.  However, eligibility for free aid is typically limited based on earnings, and some services appeal to specific 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, including CPAs, can e-file returns for you if they are licensed IRS e-file providers. The IRS maintains a record of licensed providers, but you should be aware this option is very likely to be the most costly one. 
  • Employing online tax prep software is far and away the preferred approach of most taxpayers.  In fact, the IRS says it anticipated over four tax returns to be submitted through tax return prep software.

    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 a problem that should deter you from e-filing.

    “E-filing a tax return has turned out to be a very 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 since you’re sending your personal information through an encrypted network as opposed to exposing your data in the email.”

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

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

    Bottom line

    For many taxpayers, it makes sense 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 effortless payment choices.  Just make certain that you use tax preparation software from a dependable source, so that you may ensure the information you provide to transmit to the IRS will be kept secure.