Is e-filing really a much better way to file your taxes?
Americans and the IRS might not agree on everything, but they are largely on precisely the exact same page when it comes to e-filing individual income tax returns.
Nearly all individual income tax returns filed to the IRS are e-filed.
And in return, you could find any refund you’re owed faster, especially if you have it directly deposited to your bank accounts.
But what about safety? And can digital filing actually provide you access to all of the forms that you might need if you have a complex tax situation? Are there ever situations when you can’t e-file? Let us look at the benefits of e-filing, and if it might be the best filing choice for your needs.
If you are thinking about e-filing, some of the advantages include:
- Quick confirmation your forms have been received: 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 your forms have arrived safely.
Timely refunds: When you submit a paper filing, it may take six to eight months to receive a tax refund. With e-filing, you’ll receive your money in three weeks or less. Choosing direct deposit may also accelerate the refund procedure.
Reduced chance of mistakes: In accordance with the IRS, there is approximately a 1% error rate on e-filed returns, compared with a 20% speed of errors on paper filings. The IRS also provides more information on problems discovered on e-filed yields compared with paper returns.
Simple payment procedure: If you owe the IRS money, it’s easier to cover at your advantage when you e-file. You can submit returns early and pay later if needed, as long as you pay from the April 15 filing deadline. And you’re able to 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. Additionally you have the option to pay your balance by using the IRS Direct pay service from your checking or savings accounts, filing 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 implies there’s an electronic backup of your tax records. So if something happens to your paperwork, you will have a digital backup.
The good news: Most taxpayers do decide to e-file and get those benefits — and the process of doing so is simple.
- 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.
- Free File Fillable Forms — If your income is more than $72,000 and you’re comfortable doing your taxes without assistance, you can use Free File Fillable Forms from the IRS. The types do the math for you and provide basic guidance. You can only do your federal return with these kinds.
- Use an online tax preparation tax or service applications: Tax preparation software and online filing services are alternatives. These choices are an easy way to finish and e-file your forms. Some applications suppliers charge for their apps, Some are liberated. The program asks you simple questions about your life and finances to guide you through the completion of your forms.
- Get free, in-person tax help: In most states, you will find volunteers to help prepare and e-file yields. However, eligibility for free help is typically limited based on earnings, and a few services cater to specific demographic groups.
- 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 licensed providers, but be aware this option is very likely to be the most costly one.
Using online tax preparation software is far and away the favored approach of the majority of taxpayers. Actually, the IRS says it anticipated more than four in five tax returns to be submitted through tax return prep software.
Is e-filing really stable?
While e-filing is convenient, you may worry about security — especially with so many data breaches. But experts agree that this is not a problem which should deter you from e-filing.
“In actuality, it may be more secure than paper filing as 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 set safety measures in place to keep your data secure. “Vendors typically utilize IRS specific APIs that need token sessions,” Chow says. “All of this is routed over TLS encrypted connections”
It’s very important to use a trusted service that will assist you file your taxes. Chow advises not to e-file on a computer or use an internet connection which is not private.
For most taxpayers, it is sensible 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 easy payment choices. Just be certain that you use tax planning software from a dependable source, so that you may ensure the information which you supply to transmit to the IRS will be kept secure.