Stephen Covey Four Quadrants – Should I E-file My Taxes Online

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

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

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

In return, you could get any refund you are owed faster, especially in the event that you have it directly deposited to your bank accounts.

However, what about security?  And can electronic filing really provide you access to all of the forms you may need in case you’ve got a complex tax situation?  Are there situations when you can not e-file?  Let us look at the benefits of e-filing, and if it might be the very best filing option for your requirements.

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

  1. Quick affirmation your forms have been obtained: The IRS will confirm a tax filing has been received within 24 hours of digital submission.  For paper filers, the IRS doesn’t send any acknowledgment your forms have arrived . 
  2. Timely refunds: When you publish a paper filing, it can take six to eight months to be given a tax refund.  With e-filing, you are going to get your money in three weeks or not.  Choosing direct deposit can also accelerate the refund procedure.

  3. Reduced likelihood of errors: In accordance with the IRS, there is approximately a 1 percent error rate on e-filed yields, compared with a 20% rate of errors on paper filings.  The IRS also provides more information on problems discovered on e-filed yields compared with paper yields.

  4. Easy payment procedure: If you owe the IRS money, it’s simpler to pay at your advantage 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 making use of the IRS Direct pay service from your checking account or savings account, submitting a credit card through a payment processor for a commission, or paying by check or money order. 

  5. Digital storage of tax information: Submitting returns electronically means there is a digital copy of your tax documents.  So if something happens to your paperwork, you will have a digital backup.

The good news: Most taxpayers do opt to e-file and get those advantages — and the process of doing so is simple.

You have four options for submitting 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 may be able to use the IRS Free File program.  The types do the math for you and provide basic advice.  You can simply do your federal return with these kinds. 
    2. Utilize an online tax preparation tax or service software: Tax prep software and online filing services are options.  These choices are an easy way to complete and e-file your forms.  Some applications suppliers charge for their programs, Some are liberated.   The program asks you simple questions about your own life and finances to steer you through the completion of your types.  
    3. Get complimentary, in-person tax help: In most states, you will find volunteers to help prepare and e-file yields.  But eligibility for free help is typically limited based on income, and a few services appeal to particular demographic groups.  By way of example, Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs focus primarily on assisting filers that are 60 and older.  The IRS maintains a record of licensed providers, but you should be aware this option is 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 over four tax returns to be filed through tax return prep software.

Is e-filing really secure?

While e-filing is convenient, you may worry about safety — especially with so many data breaches.  But experts agree that this isn’t a problem that should deter you from 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 direction, marketing and revenue at LegalShield. “In actuality, it may be more secure than paper filing since you’re sending your private information through an encrypted system as opposed to exposing your data in the email.”

Dennis Chow, vice president of data security at SCIS Security, clarifies the IRS has put security measures in place to keep your information safe.  “Vendors typically utilize IRS specific APIs that need ab sessions,” Chow says.  “All this is routed over TLS encrypted connections”

It’s important to use a trustworthy service that will assist you record your taxes.  Chow advises not to e-file on a public computer or use an internet connection which is not private.

Bottom line

For many taxpayers, it makes sense to e-file a return because it’s the most convenient way to submit your tax information to the IRS and it allows for timely refunds and effortless payment options.  Just make certain that you use tax preparation software from a trusted source, so that you may make certain the information you provide to transmit to the IRS will be kept protected.