Dave Ramsey Debt Free Steps – What to Consider When Filing My Taxes Online

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

Americans and the IRS might not agree about everything, but they are largely on precisely 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.  E-filing is popular because 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 need to spend time manually processing your return. And in return, you can find 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 actually give you access to all the forms that you might need in case you have a complex tax situation?  Are there situations when you can’t e-file?  Let us look at the benefits of e-filing, and whether it might be the best filing choice for your needs.

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

  1. Quick affirmation your forms have been received: The IRS will affirm a tax filing has been 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 publish a paper filing, it can take six to eight weeks to receive a tax refund.  With e-filing, you are going to get your money in 3 weeks or not.  Choosing direct deposit can also accelerate the refund procedure.

  3. Reduced likelihood of mistakes: According to the IRS, there is approximately a 1 percent error rate on e-filed yields, compared with a 20% speed of errors on paper filings.  The IRS also provides more information on issues discovered on e-filed returns compared with paper returns.

  4. Simple payment process: If you owe the IRS money, it is easier to pay at your convenience if you e-file.  You can submit returns early and pay afterwards if needed, provided that you pay from the April 15 filing deadline.  You also have the option to pay your balance by making use of the IRS Direct 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. 

  5. Digital storage of taxation information: Submitting returns electronically implies there’s a digital copy of your tax documents.  If something happens to your paperwork, you’ll have an electronic backup.

The good news: Most taxpayers do opt to e-file and find those advantages — and the process of doing so is simple.

How to e-file a tax return?

    1. Utilize IRS Free File: If your adjusted gross income is $72,000 or less you may be able to use the IRS Free File program. 
    2. Free File Fillable Forms — If your income is over $72,000 and you are comfortable doing your earnings without assistance, you can use Free File Fillable Forms from the IRS. The types do the math for you and offer basic advice.  You can only do your federal return with these forms. 
    3. Utilize an internet tax preparation tax or service software: Tax preparation software and online filing services are alternatives.  These choices are an easy way to complete and e-file your forms.  Some software suppliers charge for their programs, Some are free.   The software asks you simple questions about your life and finances to guide you through the completion of your forms.  
    4. Get complimentary, in-person tax help: In most states, you will find volunteers to help prepare and e-file returns.  But eligibility for free aid is normally restricted based on earnings, and a few services appeal to specific demographic groups.  The IRS maintains a database of licensed 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.  Actually, the IRS says it expected over four tax returns to be filed through tax return prep software.

Is e-filing really secure?

While e-filing is convenient, you could be worried about safety — especially with all these data breaches.  But experts agree that this isn’t an issue which should deter you from e-filing.

“In fact, it can be more secure than paper filing since you’re sending your private information through an encrypted system as opposed to exposing your information in the email.”

Dennis Chow, vice president of data security at SCIS Security, clarifies the IRS has put safety measures in place to keep your information secure.  “Vendors typically utilize IRS specific APIs that need ab sessions,” Chow says.  “All this can be routed over TLS encrypted connections.”

It is important to use a trusted service to help you record your taxes.  Chow advises not to e-file on a public computer or utilize an internet connection that isn’t confidential.

Bottom line

For many taxpayers, it makes sense to e-file a yield since it’s the most convenient way to submit your tax information to the IRS and it allows for timely refunds and easy payment options.  Just be certain that you use tax planning software from a trusted source, so you can make certain the information which you provide to transmit to the IRS will be kept protected.