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

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

Americans and the IRS might not agree about everything, but they are largely 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 a favorite because it is a win-win for taxpayers and the IRS.

If you e-file your federal income tax return, you conserve the IRS money because its employees don’t have to spend time manually processing your return. In return, you can find any refund you are owed quicker, particularly if you have it directly deposited to your bank account.

But what about safety?  And can digital filing really give you access to all of the forms that you might need if you have a complex tax situation?  Are there ever situations when you can not e-file?  Let us look at the benefits of e-filing, and if it may be the very best filing choice for your requirements.

If you are Considering e-filing, some of the advantages include:

  1. Quick affirmation your forms are received: 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 that your forms have arrived safely. 
  2. Timely refunds: When you publish a paper filing, it can take six to eight months to receive a tax refund.  With e-filing, you’ll get your money in three weeks or not.  Choosing direct deposit may also speed up the refund process.

  3. Reduced chance of mistakes: In accordance with the IRS, there’s around a 1 percent error rate on e-filed yields, 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 returns.

  4. Simple payment process: If you owe the IRS money, it is simpler to pay at your convenience if you e-file.  You can submit returns early and pay later if necessary, as long as you pay by 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, as long as the IRS receives your payment by Tax Day. Additionally you have the choice to pay your balance by using the IRS Direct pay service from the checking account or savings accounts, filing a credit card through a payment processor for a fee, or paying by check or money order.  Just be aware delaying payment following the filing due date (typically April 15) can result in penalties and interest.

  5. Digital storage of taxation information: Submitting returns electronically implies there is an electronic backup of your tax records.  So if something happens to your paperwork, then you will have a digital backup.

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

How to e-file a tax return?

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

  • Free File Fillable Forms — If your income is over $72,000 and you are comfortable doing your taxes without any help, you can use Free File Fillable Forms from the IRS. The types do the math for you and provide basic advice.  You can simply do your federal return with these kinds. 
  • Use an internet tax preparation service or tax applications: Tax prep software and online filing services are options.  These choices are an easy way to complete and e-file your forms.  Some applications providers charge for their programs, Some are liberated.   The software asks you simple questions about your life and financing to steer 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 yields.  However, eligibility for free aid is normally restricted based on earnings, and some providers appeal to specific demographic groups.  The IRS maintains a database of licensed providers, but be aware this alternative is likely to be the most costly one. 
  • Using online tax preparation software is far and away the favored approach of most taxpayers.  Actually, the IRS says it expected over four tax returns to be submitted through tax return prep software.

    Is e-filing really stable?

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

    “In fact, it may 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, clarifies the IRS has put safety measures in place to keep your data secure.  “Vendors typically utilize IRS particular APIs that need token sessions,” Chow says.  “All of this is routed over TLS encrypted connections”

    It is important to use a trusted service that will assist you record your taxes.  Chow advises to not e-file on a computer or use an online connection that isn’t 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 choices.  Just make sure that you use tax planning software from a trusted source, so that you can make certain the information you provide to transmit to the IRS will be kept protected.