Is e-filing a much better way to file your taxes?
Americans and the IRS may not agree about everything, but they are mostly on precisely the 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. E-filing is a favorite as it is a win-win for taxpayers and the IRS.
When you e-file your federal income tax return, you save the IRS cash because its workers do not have to spend time manually processing your return. And in return, you could get any refund you’re owed quicker, especially in the event that you have it directly deposited into your bank accounts.
However, what about safety? And can electronic filing actually give you access to all the forms that you might need if you’ve got a complex tax situation? Are there ever 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 choice for your needs.
If you’re Considering e-filing, a Few of the advantages include:
- Quick affirmation your forms have been received: The IRS will affirm a tax filing has been 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 may 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 can also speed up 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 mistakes on paper filings. The IRS also provides more information on issues discovered on e-filed yields compared with paper returns.
Easy payment process: If you owe the IRS money, it’s easier to pay at your convenience when you e-file. It’s possible to submit returns early and pay later if needed, provided that you pay from the April 15 filing deadline. And you can schedule electronic money transfers to easily 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 choice to pay your balance by using the IRS Direct pay service from your checking account or savings accounts, filing a credit card through a payment processor for a fee, or paying by check or money order. Just be aware delaying payment following the filing due date (typically April 15) will result in penalties and interest.
Digital storage of tax data: Submitting returns electronically means there is a digital backup of your tax records. So if something happens to your paperwork, then you’ll have a digital backup.
The fantastic news: Most taxpayers do decide to e-file and get those benefits — and the process of doing so is simple.
You have four choices for filing an electronically filed tax return to the IRS.
- Use IRS Free File: If your adjusted gross income is $72,000 or less you may be able to use the IRS Free File program.
- Free File Fillable Types — If your income is more than $72,000 and you’re 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 provide basic guidance. You can simply do your federal return with all these forms.
- Utilize an internet tax preparation service or tax software: Tax prep software and online filing services are alternatives. These choices are a simple way to finish 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 complimentary, in-person tax help: In most states, you will find volunteers to help prepare and e-file yields. But eligibility for free aid is normally restricted based on income, and a few providers appeal to specific demographic groups. The IRS maintains a record of authorized providers, but you should be aware this alternative is very likely to be the most costly one.
Using online tax preparation software is far and away the favored approach of most taxpayers. In fact, the IRS says it anticipated over 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 worry about safety — particularly with so many data breaches. But experts agree this is not an issue that should dissuade you from e-filing.
“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 that the IRS has put safety measures in place to keep your information safe. “Vendors typically utilize IRS particular APIs that need ab sessions,” Chow says. “All this can be routed over TLS encrypted connections.”
It is important to employ a trusted service to assist you record your taxes. Chow advises not to e-file on a public computer or use an internet connection which isn’t private.
For many taxpayers, it makes sense to e-file a return because 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 to use tax preparation software from a trusted source, so that you may make certain the information which you supply to transmit to the IRS is going to be kept secure.