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

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

Americans and the IRS might not agree on everything, but they are mostly on the same page when it comes to e-filing individual income tax returns.

Nearly all individual income tax returns filed to the IRS are e-filed.  E-filing is a favorite as it is a win-win for taxpayers and the IRS.

And in return, you could 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 electronic filing actually give you access to all of the forms that you may need in case you have a complex tax situation?  Are there situations when you can not e-file?  Let us look at the benefits of e-filing, and if it might be the very best filing option for your needs.

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

  1. Quick confirmation your forms are obtained: The IRS will confirm a tax filing was received within 24 hours of electronic submission.  For paper filers, the IRS doesn’t send any acknowledgment your forms have arrived safely. 
  2. 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’ll receive your money in three weeks or not.  Choosing direct deposit can also accelerate the refund procedure.

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

  4. Easy payment process: If you owe the IRS money, it is easier to pay at your advantage when you e-file.  It’s possible to submit returns early and pay later if needed, provided that you pay by 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. Additionally you have the choice to pay your balance by using the IRS Direct pay service from the checking account or savings account, submitting a credit card through a payment processor for a fee, or paying by check or money order. 

  5. Digital storage of tax data: Submitting returns electronically implies there is an electronic copy of your tax records.  If something happens to your paperwork, you’ll have a digital backup.

The fantastic news: Most taxpayers do opt to e-file and get those benefits — and the process of doing this is easy.

The way to e-file a tax return?

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

  • Free File Fillable Forms — If your income is over $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 offer basic guidance.  You can simply do your federal return with all these kinds. 
  • Use an internet tax preparation service or tax applications: Tax prep software and online filing services are options.  These options are a simple way to finish and e-file your forms.  Some applications providers charge for their programs, Some are liberated.   The program asks you simple questions about your life and finances to steer 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 yields.  But eligibility for free aid is typically limited based on income, and some services appeal to specific demographic groups.  For example, Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs focus primarily on helping filers that are 60 and older. 
  • Hire a paid preparer: Paid tax preparers, including CPAs, can e-file yields for you if they are licensed IRS e-file providers. The IRS maintains a database of licensed providers, but 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 the majority of taxpayers.  In fact, the IRS says it anticipated more than four in five tax returns to be submitted through tax return prep software.

    Is e-filing really secure?

    While e-filing is convenient, you may be worried about safety — particularly with all these data breaches.  But experts agree this isn’t a problem that should deter you by e-filing.

    “E-filing a tax return has turned out to be an extremely secure way to file your taxes,” says Scott Grissom, vice president of product direction, marketing and sales at LegalShield. “In fact, it can be more secure than paper filing since you’re sending your private 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 put safety measures in place to keep your information safe.  “Vendors typically utilize IRS specific APIs that need ab sessions,” Chow says.  “All of this can be routed over TLS encrypted links .”

    It’s important to employ a trustworthy service to help you record your taxes.  Chow advises to not e-file on a computer or utilize an online connection which isn’t confidential.

    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 effortless payment choices.  Just be certain to use tax planning software from a trusted source, so you can ensure the information you provide to transmit to the IRS is going to be kept secure.