Is e-filing a much 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.
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 cash because its workers don’t have to spend time manually processing your return. In return, you could get any refund you are owed faster, especially if you have it directly deposited into your bank accounts.
But what about safety? And can electronic filing actually give you access to all the forms you might need if you’ve got a complex tax situation? Are there ever situations when you can’t e-file? Let’s look at the advantages of e-filing, and if it might be the best filing option for your needs.
If you are thinking about e-filing, some of the advantages include:
- Quick affirmation your forms are received: The IRS will confirm a tax filing was received within 24 hours of digital 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 weeks to be given a tax refund. With e-filing, you are going to get your money in three weeks or not. Choosing direct deposit may also accelerate the refund process.
Reduced chance of errors: According to the IRS, there’s approximately a 1% error rate on e-filed yields, compared with a 20% rate of errors on paper filings. The IRS also provides more info on issues discovered on e-filed yields compared with paper returns.
Simple payment process: If you owe the IRS money, it is simpler to cover at your advantage when you e-file. It’s possible to submit returns early and pay afterwards if needed, provided that you pay by the April 15 filing deadline. Additionally you have the option to pay your balance by making use of the IRS Direct pay service from the checking or savings account, submitting a credit card through a payment processor for a commission, or paying by check or money order. Just be aware delaying payment following the filing due date (typically April 15) can lead to penalties and interest.
Digital storage of tax data: Submitting returns electronically means there is a digital copy of your tax documents. If something happens to your paperwork, then you’ll have an electronic backup.
The fantastic news: Most taxpayers do opt to e-file and get those benefits — and the process of doing so is simple.
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 not as 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 these kinds.
- Utilize an internet tax preparation service or tax applications: Tax prep software and online filing services are options. These options are an easy way to complete and e-file your own forms. Some applications providers charge for their apps, Some are liberated. The program asks you simple questions about your own life and finances to guide you through the completion of your types.
- Get complimentary, in-person tax aid: In most states, you can find volunteers to help prepare and e-file returns. But eligibility for free aid is normally restricted based on earnings, and some services cater to specific demographic groups. 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 prep software is far and away the favored approach of the majority of taxpayers. Actually, the IRS says it anticipated more than four in five tax returns to be submitted through tax return prep program.
Is e-filing really stable?
While e-filing is convenient, you could worry about safety — particularly with all these data breaches. But experts agree that this isn’t a problem that should dissuade 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, advertising and revenue at LegalShield. “In actuality, it may be more secure than paper filing since you’re sending your personal information through an encrypted network as opposed to exposing your information in the email.”
Dennis Chow, vice president of information security at SCIS Security, clarifies that the IRS has put security measures in place to keep your data secure. “Vendors typically utilize IRS specific 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 help you record your taxes. Chow advises to not e-file on a public computer or use an internet connection which isn’t private.
For most taxpayers, it is sensible to e-file a return because it is the most convenient way to submit your tax information to the IRS and it allows for timely refunds and easy payment choices. Just be certain that you use tax planning software from a dependable source, so you can ensure the information which you supply to transmit to the IRS will be kept protected.