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

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

Americans and the IRS might not agree about everything, but they’re mostly on precisely the same page when it comes to e-filing individual income tax returns.

The majority of individual income tax returns filed to the IRS are e-filed. 

If you e-file your federal income tax return, you conserve the IRS cash because its workers don’t have to spend time manually processing your return. And in return, you could get any refund you are owed faster, particularly in the event that you have it directly deposited into your bank account.

But what about safety?  And can electronic filing actually give you access to all of the forms that you may need in case you have a complex tax situation?  Are there situations when you can not e-file?  Let’s look at the benefits of e-filing, and if it might be the very best filing option for your needs.

If you’re Considering e-filing, some of the advantages include:

  1. Quick confirmation your forms are received: The IRS will confirm a tax filing has been received within 24 hours of electronic 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 can take six to eight weeks to receive a tax refund.  With e-filing, you are going to receive your money in 3 weeks or not.  Choosing direct deposit can also accelerate the refund process.

  2. 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 information on issues discovered on e-filed returns compared with paper returns.

  3. Simple payment procedure: If you owe the IRS money, it’s simpler to pay at your advantage when you e-file.  You can submit returns early and pay later if necessary, provided that you pay by the April 15 filing deadline.  And you can schedule electronic funds transfers to easily send the IRS what you owe on a date of your choosing again, provided that the IRS receives your payment by Tax Day. Additionally you have the option to pay your balance by using the IRS Immediate 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.  Just be aware delaying payment following 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 a digital copy of your tax documents.  If something happens to your paperwork, you will have an electronic backup.

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

The way to e-file a tax return?

You have four options for filing an electronically filed tax return to the IRS.

    1. Utilize IRS Free File: If your adjusted gross income is $72,000 or not as you could be able to use the IRS Free File program. 
    2. Free File Fillable Forms — If your income is over $72,000 and you’re comfortable doing your earnings without any assistance, you can use Free File Fillable Forms from the IRS. The forms do the math for you and provide standard guidance.  You can only do your federal return with all these kinds. 
    3. Use an online tax preparation service or tax software: Tax preparation software and online filing services are options.  These options are a simple way to finish and e-file your forms.  Some applications suppliers charge for their programs, Some are liberated.   The program asks you simple questions about your life and financing to steer you through the completion of your forms.  
    4. Get free, in-person tax help: In most states, you can find volunteers to help prepare and e-file returns.  But eligibility for free help is typically limited based on income, and some services appeal to specific demographic groups.  For instance, Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs focus primarily on assisting filers who are 60 and older.  The IRS maintains a database of authorized providers, but you should be aware this option is very likely to be the most costly one. 

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

Is e-filing really secure?

While e-filing is suitable, you could be worried about security — especially with all these data breaches.  But experts agree this isn’t a problem which should dissuade you from e-filing.

“E-filing a tax return has proven to be an extremely secure way to file your taxes,” says Scott Grissom, vice president of product leadership, advertising and sales at LegalShield. “In fact, it may be more secure than paper filing as you’re sending your private information through an encrypted system as opposed to exposing your information in the mail.”

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

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

Bottom line

For most taxpayers, it makes sense to e-file a yield because it is 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 to use tax planning software from a trusted source, so you can make certain the information you provide to transmit to the IRS is going to be kept protected.