Is e-filing really a much better way to record your taxes?
Americans and the IRS might not agree on everything, but they’re largely on the exact same page in regards to e-filing individual income tax returns.
Nearly all individual income tax returns filed to the IRS are e-filed.
In return, you could get any refund you’re owed quicker, particularly if you have it directly deposited into your bank account.
But what about security? And can electronic filing really provide you access to all of the forms that you might need if you’ve got a complex tax situation? Are there situations when you can not e-file? Let’s look at the benefits of e-filing, and whether it may be the best filing option for your requirements.
If you’re thinking about e-filing, a Few of the advantages include:
- Quick affirmation your forms are received: The IRS will affirm a tax filing was received within one day of digital submission. For paper filers, the IRS doesn’t send any acknowledgment that your forms have arrived safely.
Timely refunds: When you submit 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 three weeks or not. Choosing direct deposit can also speed up the refund process.
Reduced chance of mistakes: According to the IRS, there’s around a 1 percent 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 is simpler to cover at your convenience if you e-file. It’s possible to submit returns early and pay later if needed, as long as you pay by the April 15 filing deadline. Additionally you have the choice 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 commission, or paying by check or money order. Just be aware delaying payment after the filing due date (typically April 15) will result in interest and penalties.
Digital storage of tax data: Submitting returns electronically means there is an electronic copy of your tax documents. 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 easy.
The way to e-file a tax return?
- Utilize IRS Free File: If your adjusted gross income is $72,000 or less you could 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 earnings without any help, 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 options are an easy way to complete and e-file your own forms. Some applications providers charge for their apps, Some are liberated. The software 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 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 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 preparation software is far and away the preferred approach of most taxpayers. Actually, the IRS says it anticipated more than four in five tax returns to be filed through tax return prep program.
Is e-filing really stable?
While e-filing is convenient, you may be worried about security — particularly with all these data breaches. But experts agree this isn’t a problem that should dissuade you from e-filing.
“E-filing a tax return has proven to be an extremely secure way to file your taxes,” states Scott Grissom, vice president of product direction, advertising and sales at LegalShield. “In fact, it can be more secure than paper filing as you’re sending your personal information through an encrypted system as opposed to exposing your information in the mail.”
Dennis Chow, vice president of data security at SCIS Security, explains that the IRS has set safety measures in place to keep your information safe. “Vendors typically utilize IRS specific APIs that require token sessions,” Chow says. “All of this can be routed over TLS encrypted connections.”
It is very important to employ a trustworthy service that will help you record your taxes. Chow advises not to e-file on a public computer or use an internet connection that is not confidential.
For most taxpayers, it makes sense to e-file a return since it is the most convenient way to submit your tax information to the IRS and it allows for timely refunds and easy payment choices. Just make sure to use tax planning software from a trusted source, so that you may ensure the information which you provide to transmit to the IRS is going to be kept secure.