Jim Rohn – Should I E-file My Taxes Online

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

Americans and the IRS might not agree on everything, but they’re largely on the exact same page in regards to e-filing individual income tax returns.

The majority of individual income tax returns filed to the IRS are e-filed. 

In return, you can find any refund you’re owed quicker, especially if you have it directly deposited into your bank account.

But what about safety?  And can electronic filing really give you access to all the forms you might need in case you have 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 very best filing option for your needs.

If you are Considering e-filing, some of the advantages include:

  1. Quick confirmation 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 publish a paper filing, it may 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 not.  Choosing direct deposit can also accelerate the refund procedure.

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

  3. Simple payment process: If you owe the IRS money, it’s simpler to cover at your convenience if you e-file.  You can submit returns early and pay later if necessary, as long as you pay by the April 15 filing deadline.  You also have the option to pay your balance by using the IRS Direct pay service from your checking account or savings account, filing a credit card through a payment processor for a commission, or paying by check or money order. 

  4. Digital storage of tax information: Submitting returns electronically means there is an electronic copy of your tax documents.  So if something happens to your paperwork, you will have an electronic backup.

The good news: Most taxpayers do decide to e-file and find those benefits — and the process of doing so is easy.

    1. Utilize IRS Free File: If your adjusted gross income is $72,000 or not as you could have the ability to use the IRS Free File program. 
    2. Free File Fillable Types — If your income is over $72,000 and you are comfortable doing your taxes without any help, you can use Free File Fillable Forms from the IRS. The types do the math for you and offer basic advice.  You can simply do your federal return with these forms. 
    3. Use an internet tax preparation service or tax applications: Tax prep software and online filing services are alternatives.  These options are a simple way to finish and e-file your own forms.  Some applications providers charge for their apps, Some are free.   The software asks you simple questions about your life and financing to guide you through the completion of your forms.  
    4. Get free, in-person tax aid: In most states, you will find volunteers to help prepare and e-file yields.  But eligibility for free help is typically limited based on earnings, and a few providers cater to specific demographic groups.  For example, Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs focus primarily on helping filers who are 60 and older. 
    5. 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 record of authorized providers, but you should be aware this option is likely to be the most costly one. 

Employing online tax preparation software is far and away the favored approach of most taxpayers.  Actually, the IRS says it expected over four tax returns to be filed through tax return prep software.

Is e-filing really secure?

While e-filing is convenient, you may worry about security — particularly with so many data breaches.  But experts agree that this isn’t an issue that should deter you from e-filing.

“E-filing a tax return has turned out to be a very secure way to file your taxes,” states Scott Grissom, vice president of product direction, marketing and revenue at LegalShield. “In fact, it may 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 email.”

Dennis Chow, vice president of data security at SCIS Security, explains that the IRS has set security measures in place to keep your data safe.  “Trainers normally use IRS specific APIs that need ab sessions,” Chow says.  “All of this can be routed over TLS encrypted links .”

It’s very important to employ a trusted service to help you record your taxes.  Chow advises to not e-file on a computer or utilize an internet connection that is not private.

Bottom line

For most taxpayers, it makes sense to e-file a return because it’s the most convenient way to submit your tax information to the IRS and it allows for timely refunds and effortless payment options.  Just be certain to use tax preparation software from a trusted source, so you can make certain the information which you supply to transmit to the IRS will be kept secure.