David Ramsey Diebold – Is It Best To E-File My Taxes?

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

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

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

When you e-file your federal income tax return, you conserve the IRS money because its employees don’t need to spend time manually processing your return. And in return, you could find any refund you’re owed quicker, particularly in the event that you have it directly deposited to your bank account.

But what about security?  And can electronic filing really give you access to all the forms you might need if you’ve got 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 may be the very best filing option for your requirements.

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

  1. Quick affirmation your forms have been received: The IRS will affirm a tax filing was received within one day of digital 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 get your money in 3 weeks or less.  Choosing direct deposit can also speed up the refund procedure.

  2. Reduced likelihood of mistakes: According to the IRS, there’s around 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 problems discovered on e-filed returns compared with paper yields.

  3. Easy payment process: If you owe the IRS money, it is easier to cover at your convenience if you e-file.  It’s possible to submit returns early and pay afterwards if needed, as long as you pay by the April 15 filing deadline.  And you’re able to schedule electronic funds transfers to easily send the IRS what you owe on a date of your choosing — again, provided that 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. 

  4. Digital storage of tax data: Submitting returns electronically implies there’s an electronic copy of your tax documents.  If something happens to your paperwork, then you will have an electronic backup.

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

How to e-file a tax return?

  • Free File Fillable Types — If your income is over $72,000 and you are comfortable doing your earnings without any assistance, you can use Free File Fillable Forms from the IRS. The types do the math for you and provide standard guidance.  You can only do your federal return with all these forms. 
  • Use an internet tax preparation service or tax applications: Tax preparation software and online filing services are alternatives.  These options are an easy way to complete and e-file your own forms.  Some applications providers charge for their apps, Some are free.   The program asks you simple questions about your own life and financing to steer you through the completion of your forms.  
  • 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 normally restricted based on earnings, and a few services appeal to specific demographic groups. 
  • Hire a paid preparer: Paid tax preparers, including CPAs, can e-file returns for you if they’re licensed IRS e-file providers. The IRS maintains a record of authorized providers, but you should be aware this alternative is very likely to be the most costly one. 
  • Employing online tax preparation software is far and away the preferred approach of the majority of taxpayers.  Actually, the IRS says it anticipated over four in five 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 safety — especially with so many data breaches.  But experts agree that this is not an issue which should dissuade you by e-filing.

    “In actuality, it may be more secure than paper filing as you’re sending your private information through an encrypted network rather than exposing your information in the email.”

    Dennis Chow, vice president of data security at SCIS Security, clarifies that the IRS has set safety measures in place to keep your information secure.  “Vendors typically utilize IRS specific APIs that require token sessions,” Chow says.  “All this is routed over TLS encrypted links .”

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

    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 easy payment options.  Just make certain that you use tax planning software from a trusted source, so that you can ensure the information you provide to transmit to the IRS will be kept secure.