Is e-filing really a better way to record your taxes?
Americans and the IRS may not agree about everything, but they are mostly on the exact same page in regards to e-filing individual income tax returns.
Nearly all individual income tax returns filed to the IRS are e-filed. E-filing is a favorite as it is a win-win for taxpayers and the IRS.
And in return, you could find any refund you’re owed quicker, particularly if you have it directly deposited to your bank accounts.
However, what about security? And can electronic filing actually give you access to all of the forms that you might need in case you have a intricate tax situation? Are there ever situations when you can not e-file? Let’s look at the benefits of e-filing, and if it might be the very best filing choice for your needs.
If you’re thinking about e-filing, a Few of the advantages include:
- Quick affirmation your forms have been received: The IRS will affirm a tax filing was received within 24 hours of electronic submission. For paper filers, the IRS doesn’t 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 three weeks or not. Choosing direct deposit can also accelerate the refund procedure.
Reduced likelihood of mistakes: According to the IRS, there is around a 1 percent error rate on e-filed yields, compared with a 20% speed of errors on paper filings. The IRS also provides more information on issues discovered on e-filed yields compared with paper returns.
Easy payment procedure: If you owe the IRS money, it’s easier to cover at your advantage if you e-file. You can submit returns early and pay afterwards if needed, provided that you pay from the April 15 filing deadline. You also have the option to pay your balance by using 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 after the filing due date (typically April 15) can lead to penalties and interest.
Digital storage of tax data: Submitting returns electronically implies there’s a digital backup of your tax records. So if something happens to your paperwork, then you’ll have a digital backup.
The fantastic news: Most taxpayers do decide to e-file and find those advantages — and the process of doing so is easy.
How to e-file a tax return?
You have four options for filing 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 basic guidance. You can only do your federal return with these kinds.
- Use an online tax preparation service or tax applications: Tax prep software and online filing services are alternatives. These choices are a simple way to finish and e-file your forms. Some applications suppliers charge for their programs, 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 complimentary, in-person tax help: In most states, you will find volunteers to help prepare and e-file yields. However, eligibility for free aid is normally restricted based on income, and a few providers appeal to particular demographic groups.
- Hire a paid preparer: Paid tax preparers, such as CPAs, can e-file yields for you if they are authorized IRS e-file providers. The IRS maintains a database of licensed 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 anticipated more than four in five tax returns to be submitted through tax return prep software.
Is e-filing really secure?
While e-filing is suitable, you could be worried about security — particularly with all these data breaches. But experts agree that this is not a problem that should deter you by 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 leadership, marketing and sales at LegalShield. “In actuality, it can be more secure than paper filing as you’re sending your personal information through an encrypted system as opposed to exposing your information in the mail.”
Dennis Chow, vice president of information security at SCIS Security, explains that the IRS has set safety measures in place to keep your information safe. “Vendors typically utilize IRS specific APIs that need token sessions,” Chow says. “All this can be routed over TLS encrypted links .”
It is very important to use a trusted service to help you record your taxes. Chow advises to not e-file on a computer or utilize an online connection which isn’t private.
For many taxpayers, it is sensible to e-file a yield because 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 make sure to use tax planning software from a trusted source, so that you may make certain the information you supply to transmit to the IRS will be kept protected.