Dave Ramsey Certified Financial Coach – What to Consider When Filing My Taxes Online

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

Americans and the IRS might not agree about everything, but they are mostly on precisely 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.

If you e-file your federal income tax return, you save the IRS money because its workers don’t have to spend time manually processing your return. In return, you can find any refund you are owed faster, especially if you have it directly deposited into your bank account.

But what about safety?  And can electronic filing really give you access to all the forms you may need in case you have a intricate tax situation?  Are there ever 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 option for your needs.

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

  1. Quick confirmation your forms are received: The IRS will confirm a tax filing was received within 24 hours of electronic submission.  For paper filers, the IRS does not send any acknowledgment your forms have arrived safely. 
  2. Timely refunds: When you submit a paper filing, it may take six to eight weeks to be given a tax refund.  With e-filing, you are going to receive your money in three weeks or less.  Choosing direct deposit can also accelerate the refund process.

  3. Reduced likelihood of mistakes: According to the IRS, there’s approximately 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 issues discovered on e-filed yields compared with paper yields.

  4. Simple payment process: If you owe the IRS money, it’s simpler to cover at your convenience when you e-file.  You can submit returns early and pay afterwards if necessary, provided that you pay from the April 15 filing deadline.  And you can schedule electronic funds transfers to send the IRS what you owe on a date of your choosing again, as long as the IRS receives your payment by Tax Day. Additionally you have the option to pay your balance by making use of the IRS Immediate pay service from the checking account or savings account, filing 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) can result in penalties and interest.

  5. Digital storage of taxation data: Submitting returns electronically means there’s a digital backup of your tax records.  If something happens to your paperwork, then you will have a digital backup.

The good news: Most taxpayers do decide to e-file and find those benefits — and the process of doing this is simple.

  • Free File Fillable Forms — If your income is over $72,000 and you are comfortable doing your taxes without any assistance, you can use Free File Fillable Forms from the IRS. The forms do the math for you and offer basic guidance.  You can simply do your federal return with these forms. 
  • Use an online tax preparation tax or service applications: Tax prep software and online filing services are options.  These choices are a simple way to finish and e-file your own forms.  Some applications suppliers charge for their programs, Some are free.   The software asks you simple questions about your life and financing to guide you through the completion of your types.  
  • Get free, in-person tax aid: In most states, you can find volunteers to help prepare and e-file returns.  But eligibility for free aid is typically limited based on earnings, and a few services cater to particular demographic groups.  By way of instance, Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs focus primarily on helping 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 licensed IRS e-file providers. The IRS maintains a record of authorized providers, but you should be aware this option is likely to be the most costly one. 

    Using online tax preparation software is far and away the favored approach of the majority of taxpayers.  Actually, the IRS says it anticipated over four tax returns to be filed through tax return prep software.

    Is e-filing really stable?

    While e-filing is convenient, you could worry about security — especially with so many data breaches.  But experts agree that this isn’t an issue which should dissuade 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 direction, advertising and sales 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 mail.”

    Dennis Chow, vice president of information security at SCIS Security, explains that the IRS has put security measures in place to keep your data safe.  “Vendors typically utilize IRS particular APIs that need ab sessions,” Chow says.  “All of this is routed over TLS encrypted links “

    It is very important to use a trustworthy service that will help you record your taxes.  Chow advises to not e-file on a public computer or use an internet connection which isn’t 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 options.  Just be certain to use tax preparation software from a dependable source, so that you can make certain the information you supply to transmit to the IRS is going to be kept secure.