Is e-filing really a much better way to record your taxes?
Americans and the IRS may not agree about everything, but they are mostly on the same page in regards 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’re owed faster, especially if you have it directly deposited into your bank account.
But what about safety? And can digital filing actually give you access to all the forms that you may need in case you’ve got 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 might be the best filing option for your requirements.
If you are Considering e-filing, some of the advantages include:
- Quick confirmation your forms have been obtained: The IRS will confirm 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 .
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 get your money in three weeks or less. Choosing direct deposit may also accelerate the refund procedure.
Reduced chance of errors: According to 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.
Easy payment process: If you owe the IRS money, it is simpler to cover at your convenience when you e-file. It’s possible to submit returns early and pay afterwards if needed, as long as you pay by the April 15 filing deadline. You also have the choice 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.
Digital storage of tax data: Submitting returns electronically means there is an electronic backup of your tax records. So if something happens to your paperwork, then you will have a digital backup.
The good news: Most taxpayers do decide to e-file and get those benefits — and the practice of doing this is simple.
How to e-file a tax return?
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 less you may be able to use the IRS Free File program. The types do the math for you and offer basic advice. You can simply do your federal return with all these forms.
- Utilize an online tax preparation service or tax applications: Tax preparation software and online filing services are options. These options are an easy way to finish and e-file your forms. Some software providers charge for their apps, Some are free. The program asks you simple questions about your own life and finances to guide you through the completion of your forms.
- Get complimentary, in-person tax help: In most states, you can find volunteers to help prepare and e-file yields. However, eligibility for free help is typically limited based on earnings, and a few services cater to particular demographic groups. For instance, Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs focus primarily on helping filers who are 60 and older. The IRS maintains a record of licensed providers, but you should be aware this option is likely to be the most costly one.
Employing online tax prep software is far and away the preferred approach of most taxpayers. In fact, the IRS says it expected over four in five tax returns to be submitted through tax return prep program.
Is e-filing really secure?
While e-filing is convenient, you could worry about security — especially with so many data breaches. But experts agree that this isn’t a problem that should dissuade you by e-filing.
“E-filing a tax return has proven to be an extremely secure way to file your taxes,” states Scott Grissom, vice president of product leadership, marketing and revenue at LegalShield. “In actuality, it can be more secure than paper filing since you’re sending your personal information through an encrypted network rather than exposing your data in the mail.”
Dennis Chow, vice president of data security at SCIS Security, explains the IRS has set security measures in place to keep your information secure. “Trainers normally use IRS particular APIs that require ab sessions,” Chow says. “All of this is routed over TLS encrypted links “
It is very important to employ a trustworthy service to help you file your taxes. Chow advises not to e-file on a public computer or utilize an online connection which isn’t confidential.
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 certain to use tax preparation software from a dependable source, so that you can ensure the information which you provide to transmit to the IRS will be kept protected.