Is e-filing a better way to record your taxes?
Americans and the IRS might not agree about everything, but they’re mostly on precisely 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 is a win-win for taxpayers and the IRS.
In return, you can find any refund you’re owed faster, particularly if you have it directly deposited to your bank accounts.
But what about security? And can digital filing really give you access to all of 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 whether it might be the very best filing choice for your needs.
If you’re thinking about e-filing, a Few of the advantages include:
- Quick affirmation your forms have been obtained: The IRS will confirm a tax filing has been received within one day of digital submission. For paper filers, the IRS doesn’t send any acknowledgment that your forms have arrived .
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 3 weeks or less. Choosing direct deposit can also speed up the refund process.
Reduced chance of errors: According to the IRS, there is approximately 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 returns.
Easy payment procedure: If you owe the IRS money, it’s easier to pay at your convenience if you e-file. It’s possible to submit returns early and pay later if necessary, as long as you pay from the April 15 filing deadline. And you’re able to 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 your checking or savings account, submitting a credit card through a payment processor for a commission, or paying by check or money order.
Digital storage of taxation data: Submitting returns electronically means there is a digital backup of your tax records. So if something happens to your paperwork, you’ll have an electronic backup.
The fantastic news: Most taxpayers do opt to e-file and find those advantages — and the process of doing so is simple.
- Utilize 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 Forms — If your income is more than $72,000 and you are comfortable doing your taxes without 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 these forms.
- Utilize an internet tax preparation service or tax applications: Tax preparation software and online filing services are alternatives. These options are a simple way to finish and e-file your own forms. Some applications providers charge for their programs, Some are liberated. The software asks you simple questions about your own life and financing to guide you through the completion of your forms.
- Get complimentary, in-person tax aid: In most states, you will find volunteers to help prepare and e-file returns. However, eligibility for free aid is typically limited based on income, and some providers appeal to particular demographic groups. By way of example, Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs focus primarily on helping filers that are 60 and older. The IRS maintains a record of authorized providers, but be aware this alternative is very likely to be the most costly one.
Using online tax prep software is far and away the favored approach of most taxpayers. In fact, the IRS says it expected more than four tax returns to be submitted through tax return prep program.
Is e-filing really secure?
While e-filing is convenient, you could worry about safety — especially with all these data breaches. But experts agree this isn’t a problem which should dissuade 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 as opposed to exposing your information in the email.”
Dennis Chow, vice president of information security at SCIS Security, clarifies the IRS has put security measures in place to keep your information secure. “Trainers normally use IRS particular APIs that require token sessions,” Chow says. “All of this is routed over TLS encrypted connections.”
It’s important to employ a trusted service that will assist you record your taxes. Chow advises not to e-file on a public computer or utilize an internet connection that isn’t private.
For most taxpayers, it makes sense to e-file a return since it’s the most convenient way to file your tax information to the IRS and it allows for timely refunds and easy payment choices. Just make sure that you use tax planning software from a trusted source, so that you can ensure the information you supply to transmit to the IRS will be kept secure.