Is e-filing really a better way to record 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.
The majority of individual income tax returns filed to the IRS are e-filed.
In return, you can get any refund you are owed quicker, especially in the event that you have it directly deposited to your bank accounts.
But what about safety? And can electronic filing really provide you access to all the forms you might need if you have a complex tax situation? Are there situations when you can not e-file? Let us look at the benefits of e-filing, and whether it might be the best filing choice for your requirements.
If you’re thinking about e-filing, some of the advantages include:
- Quick confirmation your forms have been obtained: The IRS will affirm a tax filing has been 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 submit a paper filing, it may take six to eight months to receive a tax refund. With e-filing, you’ll receive your money in three weeks or not. Choosing direct deposit can also accelerate the refund process.
Reduced likelihood of mistakes: In accordance with the IRS, there’s around 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 issues discovered on e-filed returns compared with paper yields.
Easy payment procedure: If you owe the IRS money, it is simpler to pay at your convenience when you e-file. You can submit returns early and pay later if needed, provided that you pay by the April 15 filing deadline. Additionally you have the option to pay your balance by using the IRS Immediate pay service from the checking or savings account, filing a credit card through a payment processor for a commission, or paying by check or money order. Just be aware delaying payment following the filing due date (typically April 15) can lead to interest and penalties.
Digital storage of tax information: Submitting returns electronically implies there is a digital backup of your tax records. If something happens to your paperwork, then you’ll have an electronic backup.
The good news: Most taxpayers do opt to e-file and get those advantages — and the process of doing this is easy.
How to e-file a tax return?
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 more than $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 provide basic guidance. You can simply do your federal return with all these forms.
- Utilize an internet tax preparation tax or service 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 apps, Some are liberated. The software asks you simple questions about your life and finances to guide you through the completion of your forms.
- Get free, in-person tax aid: 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 a few services appeal to particular demographic groups. The IRS maintains a record of licensed providers, but be aware this alternative is very likely to be the most costly one.
Using online tax preparation software is far and away the preferred approach of the majority of taxpayers. In fact, the IRS says it expected more than four tax returns to be submitted through tax return prep software.
Is e-filing really secure?
While e-filing is suitable, you could be worried about safety — especially with all these data breaches. But experts agree this is not a problem that should dissuade you by e-filing.
“E-filing a tax return has proven to be a very secure way to file your taxes,” states Scott Grissom, vice president of product leadership, marketing and sales at LegalShield. “In actuality, it may 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 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. “Trainers normally use IRS specific APIs that need token sessions,” Chow says. “All of this is routed over TLS encrypted connections”
It is important to employ a trusted service to help you record your taxes. Chow advises not to e-file on a computer or use an internet connection which is not confidential.
For many taxpayers, it is sensible to e-file a yield because it’s the most convenient way to submit your tax information to the IRS and it allows for timely refunds and easy payment choices. Just make certain to use tax planning software from a trusted source, so you can make certain the information you provide to transmit to the IRS is going to be kept secure.