Is e-filing really a better way to file your taxes?
Americans and the IRS may not agree about everything, but they’re largely on the same page in regards to e-filing individual income tax returns.
Nearly all 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 get any refund you are owed faster, especially in the event that you have it directly deposited into your bank accounts.
But what about safety? And can digital filing actually give you access to all of the forms that you may need in case you’ve got a intricate tax situation? Are there ever situations when you can’t e-file? Let’s look at the benefits of e-filing, and if it may be the best filing option for your requirements.
If you’re thinking about e-filing, some of the advantages include:
- Quick confirmation your forms are received: The IRS will affirm a tax filing was received within one day of electronic submission. For paper filers, the IRS does not send any acknowledgment that your forms have arrived .
Timely refunds: When you publish a paper filing, it may take six to eight weeks to receive a tax refund. With e-filing, you’ll get your money in 3 weeks or not. Choosing direct deposit may also speed up the refund procedure.
Reduced likelihood of mistakes: According to the IRS, there is approximately a 1 percent 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 yields.
Simple payment procedure: If you owe the IRS money, it’s easier to cover at your advantage if you e-file. It’s possible to submit returns early and pay afterwards if needed, provided that you pay from 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 account or savings account, submitting a credit card through a payment processor for a fee, or paying by check or money order. Just be aware delaying payment following the filing due date (typically April 15) will lead to interest and penalties.
Digital storage of taxation information: Submitting returns electronically implies there’s an electronic copy of your tax documents. If something happens to your paperwork, you will have an electronic backup.
The fantastic news: Most taxpayers do decide to e-file and find those benefits — and the practice of doing this is easy.
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.
- Free File Fillable Forms — If your income is over $72,000 and you are comfortable doing your taxes without assistance, you can use Free File Fillable Forms from the IRS. The forms do the math for you and offer standard advice. You can simply do your federal return with all these kinds.
- Utilize an internet tax preparation service or tax applications: Tax preparation software and online filing services are options. These options are a simple way to complete and e-file your own forms. Some software providers charge for their programs, Some are liberated. The program asks you simple questions about your own life and finances to guide you through the completion of your forms.
- Get complimentary, in-person tax aid: In most states, you can find volunteers to help prepare and e-file yields. However, eligibility for free help is normally restricted based on earnings, and some services cater to specific demographic groups.
- Hire a paid preparer: Paid tax preparers, including CPAs, can e-file yields 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 very likely to be the most costly one.
Employing online tax prep software is far and away the favored approach of most taxpayers. Actually, the IRS says it anticipated over four tax returns to be filed through tax return prep software.
Is e-filing really secure?
While e-filing is suitable, you could be worried about safety — especially with so many data breaches. But experts agree this is not an issue that should deter you by e-filing.
“E-filing a tax return has turned out to be a very secure way to file your taxes,” states Scott Grissom, vice president of product leadership, advertising and sales at LegalShield. “In fact, it may 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, explains that the IRS has put security measures in place to keep your data secure. “Vendors typically utilize IRS specific APIs that require ab sessions,” Chow says. “All of this can be routed over TLS encrypted connections”
It is very important to use a trusted service to assist you record your taxes. Chow advises to not e-file on a computer or use an internet connection which isn’t confidential.
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 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 secure.