Dave Ramsey Fifth Third – Is It Best To E-File My Taxes?

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

Americans and the IRS might not agree on everything, but they’re largely 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. 

In return, you could find any refund you’re owed faster, especially in the event that you have it directly deposited to your bank accounts.

However, what about security?  And can electronic filing really provide you access to all of the forms that you may need if you’ve got a complex tax situation?  Are there ever 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 needs.

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

  1. Quick affirmation your forms have been obtained: The IRS will affirm a tax filing was received within 24 hours of electronic submission.  For paper filers, the IRS doesn’t send any acknowledgment your forms have arrived safely. 

    Timely refunds: When you publish a paper filing, it may take six to eight months to be given a tax refund.  With e-filing, you’ll receive your money in three weeks or not.  Choosing direct deposit can also speed up the refund procedure.

  2. Reduced chance of mistakes: In accordance with the IRS, there’s 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 problems discovered on e-filed yields compared with paper returns.

  3. Simple payment process: If you owe the IRS money, it’s easier to pay at your convenience when you e-file.  It’s possible to submit returns early and pay afterwards if necessary, as long as you pay by 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. You also 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. 

  4. Digital storage of tax information: Submitting returns electronically implies there is a digital backup of your tax documents.  If something happens to your paperwork, then you will have an electronic backup.

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

  • Free File Fillable Forms — If your income is more than $72,000 and you’re comfortable doing your earnings without any assistance, you can use Free File Fillable Forms from the IRS. The forms do the math for you and offer standard advice.  You can only do your federal return with these kinds. 
  • Utilize an online tax preparation tax or service applications: Tax preparation software and online filing services are options.  These choices are an easy way to complete and e-file your forms.  Some software providers charge for their programs, Some are free.   The program asks you simple questions about your 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 returns.  However, eligibility for free help is typically limited based on earnings, and a few services appeal to particular demographic groups.  By way of example, Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs focus primarily on assisting filers who are 60 and older. 
  • Hire a paid preparer: Paid tax preparers, including CPAs, can e-file returns for you if they are 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 prep software is far and away the preferred approach of the majority of taxpayers.  Actually, the IRS says it expected more than four in five tax returns to be filed through tax return prep software.

    Is e-filing really secure?

    While e-filing is convenient, you could worry about security — especially with all these data breaches.  But experts agree that this isn’t a problem that should dissuade 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 as opposed to exposing your data in the email.”

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

    It is very important to employ a trusted service that will assist you file your taxes.  Chow advises to not e-file on a public computer or use an internet connection that is not confidential.

    Bottom line

    For most taxpayers, it is sensible to e-file a return since it’s the most convenient way to file your tax information to the IRS and it allows for timely refunds and easy payment choices.  Just be certain that you use tax preparation software from a trusted source, so that you can make certain the information you supply to transmit to the IRS is going to be kept protected.