Is e-filing really a better way to file your taxes?
Americans and the IRS might not agree about everything, but they are largely on the exact 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.
And in return, you can get any refund you are owed quicker, especially if you have it directly deposited to your bank accounts.
But what about safety? And can digital filing really provide you access to all of the forms that you might need in case you have a complex tax situation? Are there situations when you can’t e-file? Let’s look at the benefits of e-filing, and whether it may be the best filing choice for your needs.
If you are thinking about e-filing, some of the advantages include:
- Quick affirmation 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 your forms have arrived .
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 are going to receive your money in three weeks or less. Choosing direct deposit can also speed up the refund procedure.
Reduced likelihood of mistakes: In accordance with the IRS, there’s 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 problems discovered on e-filed yields compared with paper yields.
Simple payment procedure: If you owe the IRS money, it’s simpler to pay at your convenience when you e-file. You can submit returns early and pay later if needed, as long as you pay by the April 15 filing deadline. And you’re able to schedule electronic funds 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 Immediate pay service from your checking account or savings account, 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) will lead to penalties and interest.
Digital storage of taxation information: Submitting returns electronically implies there is an electronic backup of your tax records. If something happens to your paperwork, you will have a digital backup.
The good news: Most taxpayers do decide to e-file and find those advantages — and the process of doing this is simple.
- Use IRS Free File: If your adjusted gross income is $72,000 or less you may have the ability to use the IRS Free File program. The types do the math for you and provide standard guidance. You can only do your federal return with all these forms.
- Utilize an online tax preparation service or tax applications: Tax preparation software and online filing services are options. These choices are an easy way to finish and e-file your forms. Some software providers charge for their apps, Some are free. The program asks you simple questions about your own life and finances to guide you through the completion of your forms.
- Get complimentary, in-person tax aid: In most states, you will find volunteers to help prepare and e-file returns. However, eligibility for free aid is typically limited based on income, and some services cater to particular demographic groups. By way of instance, Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs focus primarily on helping filers that are 60 and older. The IRS maintains a database of authorized 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 most taxpayers. In fact, the IRS says it anticipated more than four in five tax returns to be submitted through tax return prep software.
Is e-filing really stable?
While e-filing is suitable, you could be worried about safety — particularly with so many data breaches. But experts agree that this isn’t an issue that should dissuade you from e-filing.
“In fact, it may be more secure than paper filing since you’re sending your personal information through an encrypted system rather than exposing your data in the email.”
Dennis Chow, vice president of information security at SCIS Security, explains the IRS has put security measures in place to keep your information safe. “Vendors typically utilize IRS particular APIs that need token sessions,” Chow says. “All of this can be routed over TLS encrypted links .”
It is very important to employ a trusted service that will help you record your taxes. Chow advises not to e-file on a public computer or utilize an internet connection that is not private.
For most taxpayers, it makes sense to e-file a yield since it is the most convenient way to file your tax information to the IRS and it allows for timely refunds and effortless payment options. Just make sure that you use tax preparation software from a dependable source, so you can make certain the information you provide to transmit to the IRS is going to be kept secure.