Is e-filing really a better way to file your taxes?
Americans and the IRS may not agree about everything, but they’re mostly on the same page when it comes to e-filing individual income tax returns.
The majority of individual income tax returns submitted to the IRS are e-filed. E-filing is a favorite as it is a win-win for taxpayers and the IRS.
In return, you could get any refund you’re owed quicker, especially in the event that you have it directly deposited to your bank account.
However, what about security? And can electronic filing really provide you access to all the forms 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 advantages of e-filing, and if it might be the best filing choice for your requirements.
If you’re thinking about e-filing, some of the advantages include:
- Quick affirmation your forms have been received: The IRS will affirm a tax filing has been received within 24 hours of electronic submission. For paper filers, the IRS does not send any acknowledgment that your forms have arrived safely.
Timely refunds: When you submit a paper filing, it can take six to eight months to be given a tax refund. With e-filing, you are going to get your money in 3 weeks or less. Choosing direct deposit can also accelerate the refund process.
Reduced chance of errors: According to the IRS, there is around a 1% error rate on e-filed yields, compared with a 20% speed of mistakes on paper filings. The IRS also provides more info on problems discovered on e-filed yields compared with paper returns.
Easy payment procedure: If you owe the IRS money, it’s simpler to cover at your advantage when you e-file. You can submit returns early and pay afterwards if necessary, provided that you pay by the April 15 filing deadline. You also have the option 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. Just be aware delaying payment following the filing due date (typically April 15) can result in penalties and interest.
Digital storage of tax information: Submitting returns electronically implies there’s an electronic copy of your tax records. So if something happens to your paperwork, then you’ll have an electronic backup.
The fantastic news: Most taxpayers do decide to e-file and get those benefits — and the process of doing this 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 basic advice. You can only do your federal return with all these forms.
Employing online tax preparation software is far and away the favored approach of most taxpayers. In fact, the IRS says it expected over four in five tax returns to be filed through tax return prep program.
Is e-filing really secure?
While e-filing is suitable, you may be worried about security — particularly with all these data breaches. But experts agree that this isn’t a problem which should deter you from e-filing.
“E-filing a tax return has turned out to be a very secure way to file your taxes,” says Scott Grissom, vice president of product direction, advertising and sales at LegalShield. “In fact, it may 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 email.”
Dennis Chow, vice president of data security at SCIS Security, explains the IRS has put security measures in place to keep your information secure. “Trainers normally use IRS particular APIs that need token sessions,” Chow says. “All this can be routed over TLS encrypted connections.”
It is important to employ a trustworthy service to assist you record your taxes. Chow advises to not e-file on a computer or use an online connection that is not confidential.
For most taxpayers, it is sensible to e-file a yield because it is the most convenient way to file your tax information to the IRS and it allows for timely refunds and easy payment options. Just be certain to use tax preparation software from a trusted source, so that you can ensure the information which you supply to transmit to the IRS is going to be kept secure.