Is e-filing really a much better way to file your taxes?
Americans and the IRS may not agree on everything, but they are 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 conserve the IRS cash because its workers don’t need to spend time manually processing your return. In return, you could get any refund you’re owed quicker, especially if you have it directly deposited into your bank accounts.
However, what about security? And can digital filing really provide you access to all the forms that you may need in case you have a complex tax situation? Are there situations when you can not e-file? Let’s look at the benefits of e-filing, and whether it may be the best filing option for your requirements.
If you are Considering e-filing, some of the advantages include:
- Quick confirmation your forms are obtained: The IRS will affirm a tax filing has been received within 24 hours of electronic submission. For paper filers, the IRS doesn’t send any acknowledgment 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’ll receive your money in three weeks or less. Choosing direct deposit may also accelerate the refund process.
Reduced likelihood of errors: In accordance with the IRS, there is approximately a 1% error rate on e-filed returns, compared with a 20% rate of errors on paper filings. The IRS also provides more info on problems discovered on e-filed yields compared with paper returns.
Simple payment process: If you owe the IRS money, it’s simpler to pay at your convenience when you e-file. You can submit returns early and pay afterwards if necessary, as long as you pay from 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 option to pay your balance by making use of the IRS Direct pay service from the checking account or savings accounts, submitting a credit card through a payment processor for a fee, or paying by check or money order.
Digital storage of tax data: Submitting returns electronically means there’s a digital backup of your tax records. So if something happens to your paperwork, then you will have an electronic backup.
The good 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 filing an electronically filed tax return to the IRS.
- Use 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 types do the math for you and provide standard guidance. You can simply do your federal return with all these forms.
- Use an online tax preparation service or tax applications: Tax preparation software and online filing services are alternatives. These choices are a simple way to complete and e-file your own forms. Some software suppliers charge for their programs, Some are free. The software asks you simple questions about your life and finances to steer you through the completion of your forms.
- Get free, in-person tax aid: In most states, you will find volunteers to help prepare and e-file yields. But eligibility for free aid is normally restricted based on income, and some providers appeal to particular demographic groups.
- Hire a paid preparer: Paid tax preparers, including CPAs, can e-file yields for you if they are authorized IRS e-file providers. The IRS maintains a database of authorized providers, but you should be aware this option is very likely to be the most costly one.
Using online tax preparation software is far and away the favored approach of most taxpayers. Actually, the IRS says it expected more than four in five tax returns to be filed through tax return prep software.
Is e-filing really stable?
While e-filing is suitable, you may worry about security — particularly with all these data breaches. But experts agree this is not an issue which should deter you from e-filing.
“E-filing a tax return has proven to be a very secure way to file your taxes,” says Scott Grissom, vice president of product direction, advertising and revenue at LegalShield. “In fact, it can be more secure than paper filing as you’re sending your personal information through an encrypted system rather than exposing your information in the mail.”
Dennis Chow, vice president of data security at SCIS Security, clarifies the IRS has set safety measures in place to keep your data secure. “Vendors typically utilize IRS particular APIs that need token sessions,” Chow says. “All this can be routed over TLS encrypted links “
It is very important to employ a trustworthy service to assist you file your taxes. Chow advises not to e-file on a computer or use an online connection which is not private.
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 choices. Just be sure that you use tax preparation software from a dependable source, so that you can ensure the information which you provide to transmit to the IRS is going to be kept protected.