Is e-filing a better way to record your taxes?
Americans and the IRS might not agree about everything, but they’re largely on the same page in regards to e-filing individual income tax returns.
Nearly all individual income tax returns submitted to the IRS are e-filed.
And in return, you can get any refund you’re owed faster, especially if you have it directly deposited to your bank account.
But what about security? 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 situations when you can not e-file? Let’s look at the advantages of e-filing, and whether it may be the very best filing option for your needs.
If you are Considering e-filing, some of the advantages include:
- Quick affirmation your forms are obtained: The IRS will affirm a tax filing was received within 24 hours of digital submission. For paper filers, the IRS does not send any acknowledgment your forms have arrived safely.
Timely refunds: When you submit a paper filing, it can take six to eight weeks to receive a tax refund. With e-filing, you’ll get your money in three weeks or less. Choosing direct deposit may also speed up the refund procedure.
Reduced likelihood of errors: In accordance with the IRS, there is around a 1% error rate on e-filed returns, compared with a 20% speed of mistakes on paper filings. The IRS also provides more info on issues discovered on e-filed returns compared with paper yields.
Easy payment procedure: If you owe the IRS money, it’s easier to cover at your convenience when you e-file. You can submit returns early and pay later if necessary, provided that you pay from the April 15 filing deadline. And you can schedule electronic money transfers to send the IRS what you owe on a date of your choosing — again, as long as the IRS receives your payment by Tax Day. You also have the option to pay your balance by making use of the IRS Immediate pay service from the checking account 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 an electronic backup of your tax documents. If something happens to your paperwork, then you will have a digital backup.
The good news: Most taxpayers do decide to e-file and find those benefits — and the process of doing so is simple.
You have four options for submitting an electronically filed tax return to the IRS.
- Use 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. The types do the math for you and offer standard guidance. You can only do your federal return with all these kinds.
- Use an online tax preparation service or tax applications: Tax preparation software and online filing services are options. These choices are an easy way to complete 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 finances to guide you through the completion of your forms.
- Get free, in-person tax aid: In most states, you can find volunteers to help prepare and e-file returns. However, eligibility for free help is typically limited based on earnings, and some providers appeal to specific demographic groups. 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 favored approach of most taxpayers. In fact, the IRS says it anticipated more than four tax returns to be submitted through tax return prep software.
Is e-filing really secure?
While e-filing is convenient, you could worry about security — especially with all these data breaches. But experts agree this is not a problem that should deter you by e-filing.
“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 email.”
Dennis Chow, vice president of data security at SCIS Security, clarifies the IRS has set safety measures in place to keep your data safe. “Vendors typically utilize IRS particular APIs that need ab sessions,” Chow says. “All of this can be routed over TLS encrypted connections.”
It is important to use a trusted service to assist you file your taxes. Chow advises to not e-file on a computer or use an online connection that isn’t private.
For most taxpayers, it makes sense to e-file a yield because it’s the most convenient way to submit your tax information to the IRS and it allows for timely refunds and easy payment choices. Just be certain to use tax planning software from a trusted source, so that you may make certain the information you supply to transmit to the IRS is going to be kept secure.