Is e-filing really a better way to record your taxes?
Americans and the IRS might not agree on everything, but they’re mostly on the exact 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.
When you e-file your federal income tax return, you save the IRS money because its workers do not have to spend time manually processing your return. And in return, you could find any refund you’re owed faster, particularly if you have it directly deposited to your bank account.
However, what about security? And can digital filing really provide you access to all of the forms you might need if you’ve got a intricate tax situation? Are there situations when you can’t e-file? Let us look at the benefits of e-filing, and if it may be the very best filing option for your needs.
If you are Considering e-filing, a Few of the advantages include:
- Quick affirmation your forms are obtained: 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 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 are going to get your money in three weeks or less. Choosing direct deposit may also speed up the refund process.
Reduced likelihood of errors: In accordance with the IRS, there is around a 1 percent error rate on e-filed returns, 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 returns.
Easy payment procedure: If you owe the IRS money, it’s easier to cover at your convenience if you e-file. You can submit returns early and pay later if necessary, provided that you pay by the April 15 filing deadline. Additionally you have the choice 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.
Digital storage of tax information: Submitting returns electronically means there’s a digital backup of your tax documents. If something happens to your paperwork, then you will have a digital backup.
The fantastic news: Most taxpayers do opt to e-file and find those advantages — and the process of doing so is easy.
You have four choices for submitting an electronically filed tax return to the IRS.
- Utilize IRS Free File: If your adjusted gross income is $72,000 or less you may be able to use the IRS Free File program. The forms do the math for you and provide standard advice. You can only do your federal return with these forms.
- Use an online tax preparation service or tax software: Tax prep software and online filing services are options. These options are a simple way to finish and e-file your forms. Some software providers charge for their apps, Some are liberated. The software asks you simple questions about your life and financing to guide 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 typically limited based on earnings, and some services cater to specific demographic groups.
- 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 authorized providers, but you should be aware this alternative is likely to be the most costly one.
Employing online tax prep software is far and away the preferred approach of the majority of taxpayers. Actually, the IRS says it expected over four tax returns to be submitted through tax return prep program.
Is e-filing really secure?
While e-filing is suitable, you may worry about safety — especially with all these data breaches. But experts agree this isn’t a problem that should dissuade you from e-filing.
“In fact, it can be more secure than paper filing since you’re sending your private information through an encrypted system rather than exposing your data in the mail.”
Dennis Chow, vice president of data security at SCIS Security, explains that the IRS has set security measures in place to keep your data secure. “Vendors typically utilize IRS specific 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 assist you file your taxes. Chow advises to not e-file on a public computer or use an online connection that isn’t confidential.
For many taxpayers, it makes sense 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 be certain to use tax planning software from a trusted source, so that you can make certain the information which you supply to transmit to the IRS is going to be kept protected.