Stephen R Covey Focus – Should I E-file My Taxes Online

Is e-filing a better way to file your taxes? 

Americans and the IRS might not agree on everything, but they’re largely on precisely the exact same page in regards to e-filing individual income tax returns.

Nearly all individual income tax returns filed to the IRS are e-filed.  E-filing is popular as it is a win-win for taxpayers and the IRS.

And in return, you can find any refund you are owed quicker, particularly if you have it directly deposited to your bank accounts.

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

If you’re thinking about e-filing, some of the advantages include:

  1. Quick confirmation your forms have been obtained: The IRS will confirm a tax filing has been received within one day of digital submission.  For paper filers, the IRS doesn’t send any acknowledgment your forms have arrived . 

    Timely refunds: When you publish a paper filing, it can take six to eight months to receive a tax refund.  With e-filing, you are going to get your money in 3 weeks or not.  Choosing direct deposit may also speed up the refund process.

  2. Reduced chance of mistakes: In accordance with the IRS, there’s approximately a 1 percent error rate on e-filed yields, compared with a 20% rate of mistakes on paper filings.  The IRS also provides more info on problems discovered on e-filed yields compared with paper returns.

  3. Easy payment process: If you owe the IRS money, it is easier to cover at your convenience when you e-file.  It’s possible to submit returns early and pay afterwards if needed, as long as you pay by the April 15 filing deadline.  You also have the option to pay your balance by using the IRS Direct pay service from the checking account or savings accounts, submitting a credit card through a payment processor for a fee, or paying by check or money order. 

  4. Digital storage of tax information: Submitting returns electronically implies there’s an electronic copy of your tax records.  If something happens to your paperwork, then you’ll have an electronic backup.

The good news: Most taxpayers do opt to e-file and get those benefits — and the practice of doing this is easy.

How to e-file a tax return?

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

  • Free File Fillable Forms — If your income is more than $72,000 and you’re comfortable doing your taxes without assistance, you can use Free File Fillable Forms from the IRS. The forms do the math for you and offer basic guidance.  You can only do your federal return with these forms. 
  • Use an internet tax preparation service or tax applications: Tax prep software and online filing services are alternatives.  These choices are a simple way to complete and e-file your own forms.  Some applications providers charge for their apps, Some are liberated.   The software asks you simple questions about your life and finances to guide 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 returns.  However, eligibility for free aid is normally restricted based on income, and a few providers appeal to specific demographic groups.  The IRS maintains a database of licensed providers, but you should be aware this alternative is likely to be the most costly one. 

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

    Is e-filing really secure?

    While e-filing is convenient, you could be worried about security — especially with so many data breaches.  But experts agree this isn’t an issue that should dissuade you by e-filing.

    “E-filing a tax return has turned out to be an extremely secure way to file your taxes,” states Scott Grissom, vice president of product leadership, advertising and revenue at LegalShield. “In actuality, it may be more secure than paper filing since you’re sending your private information through an encrypted network rather than exposing your information in the email.”

    Dennis Chow, vice president of information security at SCIS Security, clarifies the IRS has set security measures in place to keep your information secure.  “Trainers normally use IRS specific APIs that need token sessions,” Chow says.  “All this can be routed over TLS encrypted links .”

    It’s important to use a trustworthy service that will help 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 most taxpayers, it makes sense to e-file a yield because it is the most convenient way to file your tax information to the IRS and it allows for timely refunds and easy payment options.  Just make certain to use tax planning software from a dependable source, so that you can make certain the information which you supply to transmit to the IRS will be kept protected.