Suze Orman Financial Calculator – Is It Best To E-File My Taxes?

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

Americans and the IRS might not agree on everything, but they are largely on the same page when it comes to e-filing individual income tax returns.

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

In return, you can find any refund you’re owed quicker, especially if you have it directly deposited into your bank accounts.

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

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

  1. Quick confirmation your forms are received: 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 that your forms have arrived safely. 

    Timely refunds: When you publish a paper filing, it can take six to eight weeks to be given a tax refund.  With e-filing, you’ll receive your money in 3 weeks or less.  Choosing direct deposit can also accelerate the refund procedure.

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

  3. Easy payment procedure: If you owe the IRS money, it’s simpler to cover at your convenience if you e-file.  You can submit returns early and pay later 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. You also have the option to pay your balance by making use of the IRS Immediate pay service from the checking account or savings accounts, filing a credit card through a payment processor for a commission, or paying by check or money order. 

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

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

    1. Use IRS Free File: If your adjusted gross income is $72,000 or less you could be able to use the IRS Free File program. 
    2. Free File Fillable Forms — If your income is more than $72,000 and you are 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 provide basic guidance.  You can simply do your federal return with all these kinds. 
    3. Utilize an internet tax preparation tax or service applications: Tax preparation software and online filing services are alternatives.  These choices are a simple way to finish and e-file your forms.  Some software suppliers charge for their apps, Some are liberated.   The software asks you simple questions about your life and financing to guide you through the completion of your forms.  
    4. Get complimentary, in-person tax help: In most states, you will find volunteers to help prepare and e-file returns.  But eligibility for free aid is typically limited based on income, and a few providers appeal to specific demographic groups.  The IRS maintains a database of authorized providers, but you should be aware this option is likely to be the most costly one. 

Using online tax prep software is far and away the preferred approach of the majority of taxpayers.  Actually, the IRS says it anticipated more than four in five tax returns to be filed through tax return prep software.

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 that this isn’t an issue which should deter you from e-filing.

“E-filing a tax return has turned out to be a very secure way to file your taxes,” says Scott Grissom, vice president of product direction, marketing and sales at LegalShield. “In actuality, it can be more secure than paper filing as you’re sending your private information through an encrypted network rather than exposing your information in the mail.”

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

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

Bottom line

For most taxpayers, it is sensible to e-file a return 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 be certain to use tax preparation software from a dependable source, so that you may make certain the information you provide to transmit to the IRS will be kept protected.