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

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

Americans and the IRS might not agree on everything, but they’re mostly on precisely the exact 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 a favorite as it’s a win-win for taxpayers and the IRS.

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. And in return, you can find any refund you are owed quicker, especially if you have it directly deposited to your bank account.

However, what about safety?  And can digital filing actually provide you access to all the forms you might need in case you have a complex tax situation?  Are there situations when you can not e-file?  Let’s look at the advantages of e-filing, and whether it may be the very best filing choice for your needs.

If you are Considering 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 doesn’t send any acknowledgment that your forms have arrived . 

    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 receive your money in three weeks or less.  Choosing direct deposit can also accelerate the refund process.

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

  3. Easy payment procedure: If you owe the IRS money, it’s easier to pay at your convenience if you e-file.  It’s possible to submit returns early and pay afterwards if needed, provided that you pay by the April 15 filing deadline.  And you’re able to 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 Immediate pay service from your checking account or savings accounts, submitting a credit card through a payment processor for a fee, or paying by check or money order. 

  4. Digital storage of taxation data: Submitting returns electronically implies there’s a digital backup of your tax documents.  So if something happens to your paperwork, you will have a digital backup.

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

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

    1. Use IRS Free File: If your adjusted gross income is $72,000 or not as you may have the ability to use the IRS Free File program. 
    2. Free File Fillable Types — If your income is more than $72,000 and you’re comfortable doing your taxes without assistance, 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 forms. 
    3. Utilize an internet tax preparation tax or service applications: Tax preparation software and online filing services are options.  These choices are a simple way to complete 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 financing to steer you through the completion of your forms.  
    4. Get complimentary, in-person tax help: In most states, you can find volunteers to help prepare and e-file returns.  But eligibility for free aid is normally restricted based on earnings, and a few services appeal to particular demographic groups. 
    5. 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 database of licensed providers, but you should be aware this alternative is likely to be the most costly one. 

Using online tax prep 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 software.

Is e-filing really secure?

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

“In fact, 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 the IRS has put safety 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 connections”

It’s important to use a trusted service that will assist you record your taxes.  Chow advises not to e-file on a computer or utilize an internet connection that isn’t private.

Bottom line

For many 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 effortless payment options.  Just be sure to use tax planning 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 secure.