Dave Ramsey Legacy Drawer – What to Consider When Filing My Taxes Online

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

Americans and the IRS may not agree on everything, but they are mostly on the same page when it comes 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 is a win-win for taxpayers and the IRS.

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 provide you access to all of the forms you might need in case you’ve got a complex tax situation?  Are there situations when you can’t e-file?  Let’s look at the benefits of e-filing, and whether it might be the best filing option for your needs.

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

  1. Quick confirmation your forms are obtained: The IRS will confirm a tax filing has been received within one day 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 receive a tax refund.  With e-filing, you’ll get your money in three weeks or less.  Choosing direct deposit may also accelerate the refund process.

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

  4. Simple payment procedure: If you owe the IRS money, it is 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 from the April 15 filing deadline.  And you can schedule electronic money transfers to easily 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 choice to pay your balance by making use of the IRS Direct pay service from the checking or savings account, submitting a credit card through a payment processor for a commission, or paying by check or money order.  Just be aware delaying payment after the filing due date (typically April 15) can result in penalties and interest.

  5. Digital storage of tax data: Submitting returns electronically means there’s an electronic backup of your tax records.  So if something happens to your paperwork, you will have an electronic backup.

The fantastic news: Most taxpayers do opt to e-file and get those benefits — and the practice of doing so is simple.

The types do the math for you and provide standard advice.  You can simply do your federal return with these forms. 

  • Use an internet tax preparation service or tax applications: Tax preparation software and online filing services are alternatives.  These choices are an easy way to finish and e-file your own 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 help: In most states, you can find volunteers to help prepare and e-file yields.  But eligibility for free help is normally restricted based on income, and some services cater to specific demographic groups. 
  • Hire a paid preparer: Paid tax preparers, such as CPAs, can e-file returns for you if they are authorized IRS e-file providers. The IRS maintains a database of authorized providers, but you should be aware this option is very likely to be the most costly one. 
  • Employing online tax preparation software is far and away the preferred approach of most taxpayers.  Actually, the IRS says it anticipated over four tax returns to be filed through tax return prep program.

    Is e-filing really stable?

    While e-filing is convenient, you may be worried about security — especially with all these data breaches.  But experts agree this isn’t a problem which should dissuade you from e-filing.

    “In actuality, it can be more secure than paper filing as you’re sending your personal information through an encrypted network as opposed to exposing your data in the mail.”

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

    It’s important to use a trustworthy service to help you file your taxes.  Chow advises not to e-file on a public computer or utilize an online connection that is not private.

    Bottom line

    For many taxpayers, it makes sense to e-file a return because 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 sure that you use tax preparation software from a trusted source, so that you can ensure the information you provide to transmit to the IRS will be kept protected.