Is e-filing really a better way to file your taxes?
Americans and the IRS may not agree on everything, but they’re largely on precisely the exact same page when it comes to e-filing individual income tax returns.
Nearly all individual income tax returns submitted to the IRS are e-filed.
In return, you could find any refund you are owed faster, particularly if you have it directly deposited to your bank account.
However, what about safety? And can electronic filing actually provide you access to all the forms you may need in case you’ve got a complex tax situation? Are there situations when you can not e-file? Let’s look at the benefits of e-filing, and whether it might be the best filing choice for your requirements.
If you are thinking about e-filing, some of the advantages include:
- Quick confirmation your forms are obtained: The IRS will affirm a tax filing has been received within one day of electronic submission. For paper filers, the IRS doesn’t send any acknowledgment your forms have arrived safely.
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 may also accelerate the refund process.
Reduced likelihood of errors: According to the IRS, there is approximately a 1% error rate on e-filed yields, compared with a 20% rate of errors on paper filings. The IRS also provides more info on issues discovered on e-filed yields compared with paper returns.
Simple payment procedure: If you owe the IRS money, it’s simpler to cover at your convenience when you e-file. It’s possible to submit returns early and pay later if needed, provided that you pay by the April 15 filing deadline. And you’re able to schedule electronic funds transfers to easily 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 making use of the IRS Immediate pay service from your checking account or savings account, filing a credit card through a payment processor for a commission, or paying by check or money order. Just be aware delaying payment after the filing due date (typically April 15) can result in interest and penalties.
Digital storage of tax data: Submitting returns electronically implies there is a digital backup of your tax documents. If something happens to your paperwork, you will have an electronic backup.
The good news: Most taxpayers do decide to e-file and find those benefits — and the practice of doing so is easy.
- Utilize IRS Free File: If your adjusted gross income is $72,000 or less you could have the ability to use the IRS Free File program.
- Free File Fillable Types — If your income is over $72,000 and you’re comfortable doing your taxes without any help, you can use Free File Fillable Forms from the IRS. The forms do the math for you and provide basic advice. You can simply do your federal return with all these forms.
- Utilize an internet tax preparation tax or service software: Tax preparation software and online filing services are options. These options are a simple way to finish and e-file your own forms. Some software suppliers charge for their apps, Some are liberated. The software asks you simple questions about your own 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 typically limited based on earnings, and some services appeal to specific demographic groups. For example, Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs focus primarily on assisting filers who are 60 and older.
- Hire a paid preparer: Paid tax preparers, including CPAs, can e-file returns for you if they’re authorized IRS e-file providers. The IRS maintains a database of licensed providers, but you should be aware this option is very likely to be the most costly one.
Employing online tax prep software is far and away the preferred approach of most taxpayers. Actually, the IRS says it expected over four tax returns to be filed through tax return prep program.
Is e-filing really secure?
While e-filing is convenient, you may worry about security — especially with all these data breaches. But experts agree this isn’t a problem which should dissuade you by e-filing.
“E-filing a tax return has turned out to be a very secure way to file your taxes,” states Scott Grissom, vice president of product direction, advertising and sales at LegalShield. “In fact, it can 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 information security at SCIS Security, explains the IRS has put safety measures in place to keep your data safe. “Vendors typically utilize IRS specific APIs that need ab sessions,” Chow says. “All of this is routed over TLS encrypted connections.”
It’s very important to use a trusted service to help you file your taxes. Chow advises not to e-file on a computer or utilize an internet connection that is not private.
For most taxpayers, it makes sense to e-file a yield because it’s the most convenient way to file your tax information to the IRS and it allows for timely refunds and effortless payment options. Just make certain to use tax preparation software from a trusted source, so you can ensure the information you provide to transmit to the IRS will be kept protected.