Stephen Covey Urgency Matrix – Should I E-file My Taxes Online

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

Americans and the IRS may not agree on everything, but they’re largely on the exact 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. 

In return, you could get any refund you are owed faster, particularly if you have it directly deposited into your bank accounts.

But what about safety?  And can electronic filing actually provide you access to all of the forms that you might need in case you’ve got a complex tax situation?  Are there ever situations when you can’t e-file?  Let us look at the advantages of e-filing, and whether it may be the very best filing option for your needs.

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

  1. Quick confirmation your forms are received: The IRS will affirm a tax filing was received within 24 hours of digital submission.  For paper filers, the IRS doesn’t send any acknowledgment that your forms have arrived safely. 
  2. Timely refunds: When you submit a paper filing, it may take six to eight weeks to receive a tax refund.  With e-filing, you’ll get your money in three weeks or not.  Choosing direct deposit can also accelerate the refund procedure.

  3. Reduced chance of errors: In accordance with the IRS, there is around a 1% error rate on e-filed yields, compared with a 20% rate of mistakes on paper filings.  The IRS also provides more information on issues discovered on e-filed returns compared with paper yields.

  4. Easy payment procedure: If you owe the IRS money, it’s easier to cover at your convenience if you e-file.  You can submit returns early and pay afterwards if needed, as long as you pay from the April 15 filing deadline.  And you can schedule electronic money transfers to 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 choice to pay your balance by using the IRS Immediate pay service from the checking or savings account, filing a credit card through a payment processor for a commission, or paying by check or money order. 

  5. Digital storage of tax data: Submitting returns electronically implies there’s a digital backup of your tax documents.  So if something happens to your paperwork, then you’ll have an electronic backup.

The fantastic news: Most taxpayers do decide to e-file and find those benefits — and the practice of doing this is easy.

How to e-file a tax return?

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

  • Free File Fillable Types — If your income is more than $72,000 and you’re comfortable doing your earnings without any assistance, you can use Free File Fillable Forms from the IRS. The types do the math for you and offer standard advice.  You can only do your federal return with all these kinds. 
  • Utilize an internet tax preparation tax or service software: Tax prep software and online filing services are alternatives.  These choices are an easy way to complete and e-file your own forms.  Some software suppliers charge for their apps, Some are free.   The software asks you simple questions about your life and financing to guide you through the completion of your forms.  
  • Get complimentary, in-person tax aid: In most states, you can find volunteers to help prepare and e-file returns.  However, eligibility for free aid is typically limited based on income, and a few services cater to specific demographic groups.  The IRS maintains a record of licensed providers, but be aware this option is very likely to be the most costly one. 

    Using online tax prep software is far and away the preferred approach of the majority of taxpayers.  In fact, the IRS says it expected more than four tax returns to be submitted through tax return prep software.

    Is e-filing really secure?

    While e-filing is convenient, you could worry about safety — particularly with so many data breaches.  But experts agree that this is not an issue that should deter you by e-filing.

    “In fact, it may be more secure than paper filing as you’re sending your personal information through an encrypted network rather than exposing your information in the email.”

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

    It’s very important to use a trusted service to assist you file your taxes.  Chow advises to not e-file on a public computer or use an internet connection which isn’t confidential.

    Bottom line

    For many 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 effortless payment options.  Just be sure to use tax preparation software from a trusted source, so that you may ensure the information which you supply to transmit to the IRS is going to be kept protected.