Dave Ramsey Savings Chart – What to Consider When Filing My Taxes Online

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

Americans and the IRS may not agree about everything, but they’re mostly on precisely the exact same page in regards to e-filing individual income tax returns.

Nearly all individual income tax returns submitted to the IRS are e-filed. 

And in return, you can get any refund you are owed faster, particularly if you have it directly deposited to your bank accounts.

But what about security?  And can electronic filing really give you access to all of the forms you might need in case you’ve got a complex tax situation?  Are there ever situations when you can not e-file?  Let’s look at the advantages of e-filing, and whether it might be the very best filing choice for your requirements.

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

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

    Timely refunds: When you publish a paper filing, it may take six to eight weeks to be given a tax refund.  With e-filing, you are going to receive your money in three weeks or less.  Choosing direct deposit may also speed up the refund process.

  2. Reduced chance of errors: In accordance with the IRS, there’s approximately a 1% error rate on e-filed returns, compared with a 20% rate of errors on paper filings.  The IRS also provides more info on problems discovered on e-filed yields compared with paper yields.

  3. Easy payment process: If you owe the IRS money, it’s simpler to pay at your convenience when you e-file.  It’s possible to submit returns early and pay afterwards if needed, provided that you pay from the April 15 filing deadline.  Additionally you have the option to pay your balance by using the IRS Immediate pay service from your checking or savings account, submitting a credit card through a payment processor for a fee, or paying by check or money order.  Just be aware delaying payment following the filing due date (typically April 15) will result in interest and penalties.

  4. Digital storage of taxation data: Submitting returns electronically means there is an electronic backup of your tax records.  So if something happens to your paperwork, then you’ll have a digital backup.

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

You have four choices for filing an electronically filed tax return to the IRS.

    1. Utilize IRS Free File: If your adjusted gross income is $72,000 or not as you could be able to use the IRS Free File program. 
    2. Free File Fillable Forms — 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 basic advice.  You can simply do your federal return with all these kinds. 
    3. Utilize an internet tax preparation service or tax software: Tax preparation software and online filing services are alternatives.  These choices are a simple way to complete and e-file your forms.  Some applications 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 types.  
    4. Get free, in-person tax help: In most states, you will find volunteers to help prepare and e-file returns.  But eligibility for free aid is typically limited based on income, and a few providers appeal to particular demographic groups. 
    5. 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 record of licensed providers, but you should be aware this option is very likely to be the most costly one. 

Using online tax preparation software is far and away the favored approach of most 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 convenient, you could be worried about security — especially with so many data breaches.  But experts agree this isn’t an issue that should deter you by e-filing.

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

Dennis Chow, vice president of data security at SCIS Security, explains that the IRS has set safety measures in place to keep your information safe.  “Trainers normally use IRS particular APIs that require token sessions,” Chow says.  “All of this is routed over TLS encrypted connections”

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

Bottom line

For most taxpayers, it makes sense 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 options.  Just be certain that you use tax planning software from a dependable source, so you can ensure the information you supply to transmit to the IRS will be kept secure.