Jack Canfield Christian – Should I E-file My Taxes Online

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

Americans and the IRS may not agree about everything, but they’re largely 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 can get any refund you are owed faster, especially in the event that you have it directly deposited into your bank accounts.

But what about safety?  And can electronic filing really give you access to all of the forms you might need if you have a complex tax situation?  Are there situations when you can’t e-file?  Let’s look at the advantages of e-filing, and whether it may be the best filing choice for your needs.

If you are thinking about e-filing, a Few of the advantages include:

  1. Quick confirmation your forms have been obtained: The IRS will confirm a tax filing has been received within one day of digital submission.  For paper filers, the IRS doesn’t send any acknowledgment your forms have arrived . 
  2. Timely refunds: When you publish 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 accelerate the refund process.

  3. Reduced likelihood of errors: In accordance with the IRS, there is approximately a 1 percent error rate on e-filed yields, compared with a 20% rate of errors on paper filings.  The IRS also provides more information on issues discovered on e-filed yields compared with paper yields.

  4. Simple payment procedure: If you owe the IRS money, it is simpler to cover at your convenience if you e-file.  It’s possible to submit returns early and pay later if needed, as long as you pay by the April 15 filing deadline.  Additionally you have the option to pay your balance by using the IRS Immediate pay service from the checking or savings account, filing a credit card through a payment processor for a fee, or paying by check or money order. 

  5. Digital storage of tax data: Submitting returns electronically means there is a digital copy of your tax records.  So if something happens to your paperwork, then you will have a digital backup.

The good news: Most taxpayers do opt to e-file and find those advantages — and the process of doing this is easy.

  • Free File Fillable Forms — If your income is more than $72,000 and you are comfortable doing your earnings without assistance, you can use Free File Fillable Forms from the IRS. The types do the math for you and provide basic advice.  You can simply do your federal return with these kinds. 
  • Utilize an online tax preparation tax or service applications: Tax prep software and online filing services are options.  These options are a simple way to complete and e-file your own forms.  Some software providers charge for their apps, Some are free.   The program asks you simple questions about your own life and financing to guide you through the completion of your forms.  
  • Get free, in-person tax help: In most states, you can find volunteers to help prepare and e-file returns.  But eligibility for free aid is typically limited based on income, and a few services appeal to particular demographic groups.  For example, Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs focus primarily on helping filers who are 60 and older.  The IRS maintains a record of authorized providers, but be aware this option is very likely to be the most costly one. 
  • Employing online tax prep software is far and away the preferred approach of the majority of 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 convenient, you may be worried about safety — particularly with all these data breaches.  But experts agree that this is not 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 leadership, marketing and revenue at LegalShield. “In fact, it can be more secure than paper filing as you’re sending your private information through an encrypted system as opposed to exposing your data in the email.”

    Dennis Chow, vice president of information security at SCIS Security, explains that the IRS has put security measures in place to keep your information secure.  “Vendors typically utilize IRS specific APIs that require token sessions,” Chow says.  “All this can be routed over TLS encrypted connections”

    It is important to use a trusted service that will assist you file your taxes.  Chow advises to not e-file on a computer or use an online connection which is not private.

    Bottom line

    For many taxpayers, it is sensible to e-file a yield since it is the most convenient way to submit your tax information to the IRS and it allows for timely refunds and effortless payment options.  Just be sure to use tax planning software from a trusted source, so you can make certain the information you provide to transmit to the IRS will be kept protected.