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 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’s a win-win for taxpayers and the IRS.
When you e-file your federal income tax return, you conserve the IRS money because its employees don’t need to spend time manually processing your return. And in return, you can find any refund you are owed quicker, especially if you have it directly deposited to your bank accounts.
However, what about security? And can electronic filing actually give you access to all of the forms that you might need in case you have a complex tax situation? Are there situations when you can’t e-file? Let us look at the advantages of e-filing, and whether it might be the best filing choice for your requirements.
If you’re thinking about e-filing, some of the advantages include:
- Quick confirmation your forms have been obtained: The IRS will confirm a tax filing has been received within one day of electronic 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 weeks to receive a tax refund. With e-filing, you’ll get your money in three weeks or less. Choosing direct deposit can also speed up the refund procedure.
Reduced likelihood of errors: In accordance with the IRS, there is around a 1 percent error rate on e-filed returns, compared with a 20% speed of mistakes on paper filings. The IRS also provides more info on problems discovered on e-filed returns compared with paper yields.
Simple payment process: If you owe the IRS money, it is easier to pay at your convenience when you e-file. It’s possible to submit returns early and pay afterwards if needed, provided that you pay by the April 15 filing deadline. Additionally you have the option to pay your balance by using the IRS Immediate pay service from the 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) can lead to interest and penalties.
Digital storage of taxation information: Submitting returns electronically means there is a digital backup of your tax documents. So if something happens to your paperwork, then you will have an electronic backup.
The fantastic news: Most taxpayers do decide to e-file and get those benefits — and the process of doing this is simple.
How to e-file a tax return?
- 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 Types — If your income is over $72,000 and you’re comfortable doing your taxes without any assistance, you can use Free File Fillable Forms from the IRS. The forms do the math for you and offer standard guidance. You can simply do your federal return with these kinds.
- Utilize an internet tax preparation tax or service software: Tax preparation software and online filing services are options. These choices are a simple way to finish and e-file your forms. Some applications providers 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.
- Get complimentary, in-person tax aid: In most states, you will find volunteers to help prepare and e-file yields. But eligibility for free aid is normally restricted based on income, and some providers appeal to particular demographic groups.
- Hire a paid preparer: Paid tax preparers, including CPAs, can e-file returns for you if they’re licensed IRS e-file providers. The IRS maintains a database of licensed 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 anticipated more than four in five tax returns to be submitted through tax return prep software.
Is e-filing really secure?
While e-filing is convenient, you may be worried about security — especially with so many data breaches. But experts agree that this isn’t 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 fact, it can be more secure than paper filing since you’re sending your private information through an encrypted system rather than exposing your data in the email.”
Dennis Chow, vice president of information security at SCIS Security, explains the IRS has put security measures in place to keep your information safe. “Vendors typically utilize IRS specific APIs that need token sessions,” Chow says. “All of this can be routed over TLS encrypted connections.”
It is very important to employ a trustworthy service to help you record your taxes. Chow advises not to e-file on a computer or utilize an online connection that is not private.
For most taxpayers, it makes sense to e-file a return because it is the most convenient way to submit your tax information to the IRS and it allows for timely refunds and easy payment options. Just be certain to use tax planning software from a dependable source, so that you may ensure the information which you supply to transmit to the IRS is going to be kept secure.