Dave Ramsey Store – What to Consider When Filing My Taxes Online

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

Americans and the IRS may not agree on everything, but they are 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. 

If you e-file your federal income tax return, you save the IRS money because its employees do not have to spend time manually processing your return. In return, you can find any refund you are owed faster, particularly in the event that you have it directly deposited to your bank account.

However, what about security?  And can electronic filing actually provide you access to all the forms that you might need if you’ve got a intricate tax situation?  Are there ever situations when you can’t e-file?  Let us look at the advantages of e-filing, and whether it might be the best filing option for your needs.

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

  1. Quick confirmation your forms are received: 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 that your forms have arrived safely. 
  2. Timely refunds: When you publish a paper filing, it may take six to eight months to receive a tax refund.  With e-filing, you are going to receive your money in 3 weeks or less.  Choosing direct deposit can also speed up the refund procedure.

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

  4. Simple payment process: If you owe the IRS money, it is easier to pay at your advantage when you e-file.  You can submit returns early and pay later if needed, as long as you pay from 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, provided that the IRS receives your payment by Tax Day. You also have the choice to pay your balance by using the IRS Immediate pay service from your checking account 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) will lead to interest and penalties.

  5. Digital storage of tax information: Submitting returns electronically implies there is an electronic backup of your tax records.  If something happens to your paperwork, you will have an electronic backup.

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

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

The types do the math for you and offer standard guidance.  You can simply do your federal return with these kinds. 

  • Utilize an online 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 forms.  Some applications suppliers charge for their programs, Some are liberated.   The software asks you simple questions about your own life and finances to guide you through the completion of your types.  
  • Get free, in-person tax help: In most states, you can find volunteers to help prepare and e-file returns.  But eligibility for free aid is typically limited based on income, and a few providers cater to particular demographic groups.  For 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 authorized 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 preparation software is far and away the preferred approach of most taxpayers.  In fact, the IRS says it anticipated over four tax returns to be submitted through tax return prep program.

    Is e-filing really secure?

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

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

    Dennis Chow, vice president of information security at SCIS Security, explains the IRS has put security measures in place to keep your data secure.  “Trainers normally use IRS specific APIs that require token sessions,” Chow says.  “All this can be routed over TLS encrypted links “

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

    Bottom line

    For many taxpayers, it is sensible to e-file a return 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 make sure that you use tax preparation software from a dependable source, so that you can make certain the information you provide to transmit to the IRS is going to be kept protected.