Is e-filing really a much better way to file your taxes?
Americans and the IRS may not agree on everything, but they are largely on the exact 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 popular because it’s a win-win for taxpayers and the IRS.
If you e-file your federal income tax return, you save the IRS money because its workers do not need to spend time manually processing your return. And in return, you could find any refund you are owed quicker, particularly if you have it directly deposited to your bank accounts.
However, what about security? And can digital filing really give you access to all the forms you may need if you’ve got a complex tax situation? Are there ever situations when you can not e-file? Let us look at the advantages of e-filing, and whether it may be the best filing option for your requirements.
If you are Considering e-filing, some of the advantages include:
- Quick confirmation your forms are obtained: The IRS will affirm a tax filing has been received within one day of electronic submission. For paper filers, the IRS doesn’t send any acknowledgment that your forms have arrived safely.
Timely refunds: When you publish a paper filing, it can take six to eight months to receive a tax refund. With e-filing, you are going to receive your money in 3 weeks or not. Choosing direct deposit may also accelerate the refund process.
Reduced chance of mistakes: According to the IRS, there’s around a 1 percent error rate on e-filed returns, compared with a 20% speed of mistakes on paper filings. The IRS also provides more information on problems discovered on e-filed returns compared with paper yields.
Simple payment procedure: If you owe the IRS money, it is simpler to pay at your advantage when you e-file. It’s possible to submit returns early and pay afterwards if necessary, provided that you pay by the April 15 filing deadline. And you can schedule electronic funds transfers to send the IRS what you owe on a date of your choosing — again, provided that the IRS receives your payment by Tax Day. Additionally you 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 fee, or paying by check or money order.
Digital storage of taxation data: Submitting returns electronically means there is a digital copy of your tax records. So if something happens to your paperwork, then you’ll have an electronic backup.
The good news: Most taxpayers do opt to e-file and get those advantages — and the practice of doing this is simple.
How to e-file a tax return?
You have four options 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.
- 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 guidance. You can simply do your federal return with these forms.
- Use an internet tax preparation service or tax applications: Tax prep software and online filing services are alternatives. These choices are an easy way to finish and e-file your own forms. Some software providers charge for their programs, Some are free. The software asks you simple questions about your own life and finances to steer you through the completion of your forms.
- Get complimentary, in-person tax aid: In most states, you can find volunteers to help prepare and e-file yields. But eligibility for free aid is normally restricted based on earnings, and a few providers cater to specific demographic groups.
- Hire a paid preparer: Paid tax preparers, including CPAs, can e-file returns for you if they’re licensed IRS e-file providers. 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 preferred approach of most taxpayers. In fact, the IRS says it anticipated more than four in five tax returns to be filed through tax return prep software.
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 this is not an issue that should dissuade you from e-filing.
“E-filing a tax return has proven to be an extremely secure way to file your taxes,” says Scott Grissom, vice president of product leadership, advertising and revenue at LegalShield. “In actuality, it may be more secure than paper filing as you’re sending your personal information through an encrypted system as opposed to exposing your data in the mail.”
Dennis Chow, vice president of information security at SCIS Security, clarifies the IRS has set security measures in place to keep your data safe. “Trainers normally use IRS particular APIs that need ab sessions,” Chow says. “All this is routed over TLS encrypted links “
It’s very important to employ a trustworthy service that will help you record your taxes. Chow advises not to e-file on a public computer or utilize an online connection which isn’t confidential.
For most taxpayers, it is sensible to e-file a return since it is the most convenient way to submit your tax information to the IRS and it allows for timely refunds and effortless payment choices. Just be certain that you use tax planning software from a dependable source, so that you may make certain the information which you provide to transmit to the IRS will be kept secure.