Is e-filing really a better way to record your taxes?
Americans and the IRS might not agree about everything, but they’re largely on precisely the same page in regards 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’re owed faster, especially in the event that you have it directly deposited to your bank accounts.
However, what about safety? And can electronic filing actually give you access to all the forms that you may need in case you have 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 might be the best filing option for your needs.
If you’re Considering e-filing, some of the advantages include:
- Quick confirmation your forms are obtained: The IRS will affirm a tax filing was received within one day of digital submission. For paper filers, the IRS does not send any acknowledgment your forms have arrived .
Timely refunds: When you submit a paper filing, it can take six to eight months to receive a tax refund. With e-filing, you’ll get your money in 3 weeks or not. Choosing direct deposit may also speed up the refund procedure.
Reduced likelihood of errors: In accordance with the IRS, there’s approximately a 1 percent error rate on e-filed returns, compared with a 20% rate of mistakes on paper filings. The IRS also provides more info on issues discovered on e-filed returns compared with paper returns.
Simple payment process: If you owe the IRS money, it is easier to cover at your advantage when 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 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 option to pay your balance by making use of the IRS Direct 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 taxation information: Submitting returns electronically implies there’s an electronic backup of your tax documents. If something happens to your paperwork, you will have a digital backup.
The fantastic news: Most taxpayers do decide to e-file and find those advantages — and the practice of doing so is easy.
You have four options for filing an electronically filed tax return to the IRS.
- Utilize IRS Free File: If your adjusted gross income is $72,000 or not as you may have the ability to use the IRS Free File program.
- Free File Fillable Forms — If your income is over $72,000 and you’re comfortable doing your earnings without assistance, you can use Free File Fillable Forms from the IRS. The forms do the math for you and provide standard guidance. You can only do your federal return with all these forms.
- Use an internet tax preparation service or tax applications: Tax prep software and online filing services are alternatives. These options are a simple way to complete and e-file your forms. Some software suppliers charge for their programs, Some are free. The program asks you simple questions about your life and financing to steer you through the completion of your types.
- Get free, in-person tax aid: In most states, you will find volunteers to help prepare and e-file returns. But eligibility for free help is typically limited based on income, and some providers cater to particular demographic groups. For example, Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs focus primarily on assisting filers that are 60 and older. The IRS maintains a database of authorized providers, but you should be aware this alternative is very likely to be the most costly one.
Employing online tax prep software is far and away the favored approach of most taxpayers. Actually, the IRS says it anticipated over four in five tax returns to be filed through tax return prep program.
Is e-filing really secure?
While e-filing is convenient, you could worry about security — particularly with so many data breaches. But experts agree that this isn’t a problem that 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 leadership, marketing and sales at LegalShield. “In actuality, it may be more secure than paper filing since you’re sending your private information through an encrypted network as opposed to exposing your data in the mail.”
Dennis Chow, vice president of information security at SCIS Security, explains the IRS has put safety measures in place to keep your data secure. “Vendors typically utilize IRS specific APIs that require ab 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 not to e-file on a computer or utilize an internet connection that isn’t confidential.
For many taxpayers, it is sensible to e-file a return since it is the most convenient way to file your tax information to the IRS and it allows for timely refunds and effortless payment choices. Just be sure that you use tax planning software from a trusted source, so you can ensure the information which you provide to transmit to the IRS is going to be kept secure.