Rhonda Byrne Pictures – Should I E-file My Taxes Online

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

Americans and the IRS might not agree on everything, but they are mostly on the exact 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 popular as it is a win-win for taxpayers and the IRS.

In return, you could get any refund you’re owed quicker, especially if you have it directly deposited to your bank accounts.

However, what about security?  And can digital filing really provide you access to all of the forms you may need if you have a intricate tax situation?  Are there ever situations when you can’t e-file?  Let’s look at the benefits of e-filing, and whether it might be the very best filing option for your needs.

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

  1. Quick confirmation your forms have been received: The IRS will confirm a tax filing was received within one day of electronic submission.  For paper filers, the IRS does not send any acknowledgment 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 get your money in 3 weeks or less.  Choosing direct deposit can also accelerate the refund procedure.

  2. Reduced chance of errors: According to the IRS, there is around 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 problems discovered on e-filed returns compared with paper yields.

  3. 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, as long as you pay from the April 15 filing deadline.  And you’re able to schedule electronic funds 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 option to pay your balance by making use of the IRS Immediate pay service from the checking account or savings accounts, submitting a credit card through a payment processor for a commission, or paying by check or money order.  Just be aware delaying payment after the filing due date (typically April 15) will result in penalties and interest.

  4. Digital storage of tax data: Submitting returns electronically means there is an electronic backup of your tax records.  If something happens to your paperwork, you will have a digital backup.

The good news: Most taxpayers do decide to e-file and find those benefits — and the practice of doing so is easy.

The types do the math for you and provide basic advice.  You can simply do your federal return with these forms. 

  • Utilize an online tax preparation service or tax applications: Tax prep software and online filing services are alternatives.  These options are a simple way to complete and e-file your forms.  Some applications providers charge for their programs, Some are liberated.   The program asks you simple questions about your life and financing 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 returns.  But eligibility for free help is normally restricted based on earnings, and some providers appeal to particular demographic groups.  For instance, Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs focus primarily on assisting filers who are 60 and older. 
  • Hire a paid preparer: Paid tax preparers, such as CPAs, can e-file returns for you if they’re authorized IRS e-file providers. The IRS maintains a database 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 the majority of taxpayers.  In fact, the IRS says it anticipated over four tax returns to be filed through tax return prep program.

    Is e-filing really stable?

    While e-filing is convenient, you may worry about security — especially with all these data breaches.  But experts agree that this isn’t an issue that should deter you by e-filing.

    “In fact, it may be more secure than paper filing since you’re sending your private information through an encrypted network rather than exposing your data in the email.”

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

    It’s very important to employ a trusted service to assist you file your taxes.  Chow advises not to e-file on a public computer or use an internet connection that isn’t private.

    Bottom line

    For many taxpayers, it makes sense to e-file a return because it’s the most convenient way to submit your tax information to the IRS and it allows for timely refunds and effortless payment options.  Just make sure that you use tax planning software from a trusted source, so you can ensure the information you supply to transmit to the IRS is going to be kept protected.