Is e-filing really a much better way to file your taxes?
Americans and the IRS may not agree about everything, but they’re largely on the exact 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.
And in return, you can get any refund you are owed faster, particularly in the event that you have it directly deposited into your bank accounts.
But what about safety? And can digital filing actually give you access to all of the forms that you might need in case you have a complex tax situation? Are there ever situations when you can not e-file? Let us look at the advantages of e-filing, and whether it may be the best filing option 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 confirm a tax filing was received within 24 hours of digital submission. For paper filers, the IRS does not send any acknowledgment that your forms have arrived safely.
Timely refunds: When you publish a paper filing, it can take six to eight weeks to receive a tax refund. With e-filing, you’ll get your money in 3 weeks or less. Choosing direct deposit can also speed up the refund process.
Reduced chance of mistakes: According to the IRS, there’s approximately a 1% 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 returns compared with paper returns.
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. And you’re able to schedule electronic money 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 choice to pay your balance by making use of the IRS Immediate pay service from the checking account or savings accounts, submitting a credit card through a payment processor for a fee, or paying by check or money order.
Digital storage of tax information: Submitting returns electronically means there’s a digital copy of your tax documents. So if something happens to your paperwork, then you’ll have an electronic backup.
The good news: Most taxpayers do opt to e-file and find those advantages — and the practice of doing so is easy.
How to e-file a tax return?
You have four options for submitting an electronically filed tax return to the IRS.
- Utilize IRS Free File: If your adjusted gross income is $72,000 or not as you may be able to use the IRS Free File program.
- Free File Fillable Types — If your income is more than $72,000 and you’re comfortable doing your earnings without help, you can use Free File Fillable Forms from the IRS. The types do the math for you and provide standard advice. You can simply do your federal return with all these kinds.
- Use an internet tax preparation tax or service applications: Tax prep software and online filing services are alternatives. These choices are an easy way to complete and e-file your own forms. Some applications suppliers charge for their apps, Some are liberated. The program asks you simple questions about your life and finances 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. However, eligibility for free help is typically limited based on earnings, and a few services cater to specific demographic groups.
- Hire a paid preparer: Paid tax preparers, including CPAs, can e-file returns for you if they are authorized IRS e-file providers. The IRS maintains a database of licensed providers, but you should be aware this option is likely to be the most costly one.
Employing online tax prep software is far and away the preferred approach of the majority of taxpayers. In fact, 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 suitable, you could be worried about security — particularly with all these data breaches. But experts agree that this isn’t an issue which should deter you by e-filing.
“In fact, it can be more secure than paper filing since you’re sending your personal information through an encrypted system rather than exposing your information in the mail.”
Dennis Chow, vice president of data security at SCIS Security, explains the IRS has put security measures in place to keep your information safe. “Trainers normally use IRS specific APIs that need token sessions,” Chow says. “All this can be routed over TLS encrypted connections”
It’s very important to employ a trustworthy service to help you record your taxes. Chow advises to not e-file on a computer or utilize an internet connection which is not private.
For many taxpayers, it is sensible to e-file a return because 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 to use tax preparation software from a trusted source, so that you can ensure the information you supply to transmit to the IRS will be kept secure.