Is e-filing really a better way to file your taxes?
Americans and the IRS may not agree on everything, but they are largely on the 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. E-filing is popular because it’s a win-win for taxpayers and the IRS.
And in return, you could get any refund you are owed quicker, especially if you have it directly deposited into your bank accounts.
However, what about security? And can electronic filing really provide you access to all of the forms you might need in case you’ve got a complex tax situation? Are there situations when you can’t e-file? Let us look at the advantages of e-filing, and if it may be the very best filing option for your requirements.
If you are thinking about e-filing, some 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 .
Timely refunds: When you submit a paper filing, it may take six to eight weeks to be given a tax refund. With e-filing, you’ll get your money in 3 weeks or less. Choosing direct deposit may also accelerate the refund process.
Reduced chance of errors: According to the IRS, there’s 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 issues discovered on e-filed returns compared with paper returns.
Easy payment procedure: If you owe the IRS money, it is easier to cover at your advantage when you e-file. It’s possible to submit returns early and pay later if needed, provided that you pay from the April 15 filing deadline. And you’re able to schedule electronic money transfers to 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 making use of the IRS Direct pay service from the checking account or savings account, submitting a credit card through a payment processor for a fee, or paying by check or money order.
Digital storage of taxation information: Submitting returns electronically implies there’s an electronic backup of your tax documents. 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 easy.
Employing online tax prep software is far and away the favored approach of most taxpayers. In fact, the IRS says it expected over 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 — particularly with all these data breaches. But experts agree that this is not a problem which should deter you from e-filing.
“E-filing a tax return has turned out to be a very secure way to file your taxes,” says Scott Grissom, vice president of product leadership, marketing and sales at LegalShield. “In actuality, it can be more secure than paper filing as you’re sending your personal information through an encrypted network as opposed to exposing your data in the email.”
Dennis Chow, vice president of data security at SCIS Security, explains the IRS has put security measures in place to keep your information safe. “Trainers normally use IRS particular APIs that need token sessions,” Chow says. “All of this can be routed over TLS encrypted connections.”
It’s important to use a trustworthy service that will assist you record your taxes. Chow advises to not e-file on a computer or use an online connection which isn’t confidential.
For many taxpayers, it is sensible 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 preparation software from a trusted source, so you may make certain the information which you provide to transmit to the IRS is going to be kept protected.