Is e-filing really a much better way to file your taxes?
Americans and the IRS might not agree about everything, but they’re mostly on the exact same page when it comes to e-filing individual income tax returns.
Nearly all individual income tax returns filed to the IRS are e-filed.
When you e-file your federal income tax return, you conserve the IRS cash because its workers don’t have to spend time manually processing your return. In return, you can find any refund you’re owed faster, especially if you have it directly deposited into your bank accounts.
But what about security? And can electronic filing really give you access to all the forms you may need if you’ve got a complex tax situation? Are there situations when you can’t e-file? Let’s look at the advantages of e-filing, and if it might be the best filing option for your needs.
If you’re thinking about e-filing, some of the advantages include:
- Quick affirmation your forms are obtained: The IRS will confirm a tax filing has been received within 24 hours of electronic submission. For paper filers, the IRS doesn’t send any acknowledgment your forms have arrived .
Timely refunds: When you publish a paper filing, it can take six to eight weeks to be given a tax refund. With e-filing, you’ll receive your money in three weeks or less. Choosing direct deposit can also accelerate the refund procedure.
Reduced chance of mistakes: According to the IRS, there is around a 1% error rate on e-filed returns, compared with a 20% rate of mistakes on paper filings. The IRS also provides more info on issues discovered on e-filed returns compared with paper returns.
Simple payment procedure: If you owe the IRS money, it is easier to cover at your convenience if you e-file. You can submit returns early and pay afterwards if needed, provided that 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 option to pay your balance by making use of the IRS Direct pay service from the checking account or savings accounts, submitting a credit card through a payment processor for a commission, or paying by check or money order.
Digital storage of taxation information: Submitting returns electronically means there is an electronic backup of your tax records. So if something happens to your paperwork, then you’ll have a digital backup.
The fantastic news: Most taxpayers do opt to e-file and get those advantages — and the process 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.
- Use IRS Free File: If your adjusted gross income is $72,000 or not as you may be able to use the IRS Free File program. The types do the math for you and offer standard advice. You can simply do your federal return with these kinds.
- Utilize an online tax preparation service or tax software: Tax preparation software and online filing services are alternatives. These choices are an easy way to complete and e-file your own forms. Some applications suppliers charge for their apps, Some are free. The software asks you simple questions about your life and finances to steer you through the completion of your types.
- Get free, in-person tax aid: In most states, you will find volunteers to help prepare and e-file yields. But eligibility for free help is typically limited based on earnings, and a few providers appeal to specific demographic groups. The IRS maintains a database of authorized providers, but you should be aware this alternative 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 more than four tax returns to be submitted through tax return prep program.
Is e-filing really stable?
While e-filing is suitable, you could worry about safety — particularly with all these data breaches. But experts agree that this isn’t a problem that should deter you from e-filing.
“In fact, it can be more secure than paper filing as you’re sending your private information through an encrypted system rather than exposing your data in the mail.”
Dennis Chow, vice president of information security at SCIS Security, explains the IRS has put safety measures in place to keep your data secure. “Vendors typically utilize IRS particular APIs that need token sessions,” Chow says. “All of this can be routed over TLS encrypted links .”
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 internet connection which isn’t confidential.
For many 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 sure to use tax planning software from a dependable source, so that you can ensure the information you provide to transmit to the IRS is going to be kept protected.