Richard Branson Island – Should I E-file My Taxes Online

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

Americans and the IRS might not agree about everything, but they are mostly on the exact same page in regards to e-filing individual income tax returns.

Nearly all individual income tax returns submitted to the IRS are e-filed. 

When you e-file your federal income tax return, you save the IRS money because its employees don’t need to spend time manually processing your return. In return, you could get any refund you’re owed faster, especially if you have it directly deposited to your bank account.

But what about security?  And can electronic filing really provide you access to all of the forms you might need in case you have a intricate tax situation?  Are there ever situations when you can not e-file?  Let us look at the benefits of e-filing, and whether it might be the best filing option for your needs.

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

  1. Quick affirmation your forms are received: The IRS will confirm a tax filing has been received within one day of digital 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 weeks to be given a tax refund.  With e-filing, you are going to get your money in 3 weeks or less.  Choosing direct deposit may also accelerate the refund process.

  2. Reduced chance of errors: According to the IRS, there’s approximately a 1% error rate on e-filed returns, compared with a 20% speed of errors on paper filings.  The IRS also provides more info on problems discovered on e-filed returns compared with paper returns.

  3. Simple payment process: If you owe the IRS money, it’s easier to cover at your advantage if you e-file.  You can submit returns early and pay afterwards if needed, as long as you pay by the April 15 filing deadline.  Additionally you have the choice to pay your balance by making use of the IRS Direct pay service from your checking or savings accounts, submitting a credit card through a payment processor for a fee, or paying by check or money order. 

  4. Digital storage of tax information: Submitting returns electronically implies there’s an electronic backup of your tax records.  If something happens to your paperwork, you’ll have a digital backup.

The good news: Most taxpayers do decide to e-file and get those benefits — and the practice of doing this is simple.

    1. 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.  The forms do the math for you and provide standard advice.  You can only do your federal return with these forms. 
    2. Use an online tax preparation service or tax software: Tax preparation software and online filing services are alternatives.  These options are an easy way to complete and e-file your own forms.  Some software suppliers charge for their apps, Some are liberated.   The program asks you simple questions about your own life and finances to guide you through the completion of your forms.  
    3. Get complimentary, in-person tax aid: In most states, you will find volunteers to help prepare and e-file yields.  However, eligibility for free help is normally restricted based on earnings, and some services cater to specific demographic groups.  The IRS maintains a database of authorized providers, but be aware this option is very likely to be the most costly one. 

Employing online tax preparation software is far and away the favored approach of most taxpayers.  Actually, the IRS says it expected more than four in five tax returns to be submitted through tax return prep program.

Is e-filing really secure?

While e-filing is suitable, you could worry about safety — particularly with all these data breaches.  But experts agree this is not a problem that should deter you by e-filing.

“E-filing a tax return has turned out to be an extremely secure way to file your taxes,” says Scott Grissom, vice president of product leadership, advertising and sales at LegalShield. “In actuality, it can be more secure than paper filing since you’re sending your personal information through an encrypted system rather than exposing your data in the mail.”

Dennis Chow, vice president of data security at SCIS Security, clarifies the IRS has put security measures in place to keep your information secure.  “Trainers normally use IRS specific APIs that require token sessions,” Chow says.  “All this is routed over TLS encrypted connections”

It’s very important to use a trusted service to help you record your taxes.  Chow advises to not e-file on a computer or use an online connection which is not confidential.

Bottom line

For many taxpayers, it is sensible to e-file a return since it is the most convenient way to file your tax information to the IRS and it allows for timely refunds and effortless payment choices.  Just be certain to use tax preparation software from a dependable source, so you can ensure the information you supply to transmit to the IRS is going to be kept secure.