Politico Dave Ramsey – Is It Best To E-File My Taxes?

Is e-filing really a better way to record your taxes? 

Americans and the IRS might not agree about 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 filed to the IRS are e-filed. 

In return, you can get any refund you are owed faster, particularly if you have it directly deposited into your bank accounts.

However, what about safety?  And can digital filing really provide you access to all the forms you may need in case you have a complex tax situation?  Are there ever situations when you can not e-file?  Let’s look at the benefits of e-filing, and if it may be the best filing choice for your requirements.

If you are thinking about e-filing, a Few of the advantages include:

  1. Quick confirmation your forms are received: The IRS will affirm a tax filing has been received within 24 hours of electronic submission.  For paper filers, the IRS does not send any acknowledgment that your forms have arrived . 

    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 3 weeks or less.  Choosing direct deposit can also speed up the refund procedure.

  2. 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.

  3. Simple payment procedure: If you owe the IRS money, it’s simpler to pay at your advantage if you e-file.  It’s possible to submit returns early and pay afterwards if necessary, as long as you pay by 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, provided that the IRS receives your payment by Tax Day. You also have the choice to pay your balance by making use of 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. 

  4. Digital storage of taxation information: Submitting returns electronically means there’s a digital copy of your tax documents.  If something happens to your paperwork, then you will have an electronic backup.

The fantastic news: Most taxpayers do decide to e-file and find those advantages — and the practice of doing so is simple.

How to e-file a tax return?

You have four options for filing an electronically filed tax return to the IRS.

    1. 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. 
    2. Free File Fillable Forms — 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 forms do the math for you and provide standard guidance.  You can simply do your federal return with all these forms. 
    3. Utilize an online tax preparation service or tax software: Tax preparation software and online filing services are options.  These choices are an easy way to complete and e-file your own forms.  Some applications suppliers charge for their apps, Some are liberated.   The software asks you simple questions about your own life and financing to guide you through the completion of your types.  
    4. Get complimentary, in-person tax help: In most states, you can find volunteers to help prepare and e-file returns.  But eligibility for free help is normally restricted based on income, and a few providers appeal to specific demographic groups.  For example, Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs focus primarily on helping filers that are 60 and older.  The IRS maintains a record of licensed providers, but you should be aware this alternative is likely to be the most costly one. 

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

Is e-filing really secure?

While e-filing is suitable, you may be worried about safety — especially with so many data breaches.  But experts agree this isn’t an issue which should deter 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 direction, marketing and sales at LegalShield. “In actuality, it may be more secure than paper filing since you’re sending your private information through an encrypted network rather than exposing your information in the email.”

Dennis Chow, vice president of information security at SCIS Security, clarifies that the IRS has set security measures in place to keep your information safe.  “Vendors typically utilize IRS particular APIs that need token sessions,” Chow says.  “All this is routed over TLS encrypted connections.”

It’s very important to employ a trustworthy service that will assist you record your taxes.  Chow advises to not e-file on a computer or use an online connection which is not private.

Bottom line

For many 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 easy payment options.  Just make certain that you use tax preparation software from a dependable source, so that you can ensure the information you supply to transmit to the IRS is going to be kept secure.