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

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

Americans and the IRS may not agree about everything, but they are mostly on the exact same page in regards to e-filing individual income tax returns.

The majority of individual income tax returns filed to the IRS are e-filed. 

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

But what about security?  And can digital filing actually provide you access to all the forms you may need if you’ve got a intricate 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 option 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 24 hours of electronic 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 are going to receive your money in three weeks or not.  Choosing direct deposit can also speed up the refund process.

  2. Reduced likelihood of mistakes: According to the IRS, there is approximately a 1% error rate on e-filed returns, compared with a 20% speed of mistakes on paper filings.  The IRS also provides more information on issues discovered on e-filed yields compared with paper returns.

  3. Easy payment process: If you owe the IRS money, it is simpler to cover at your advantage if you e-file.  It’s possible to submit returns early and pay afterwards if needed, as long as you pay from the April 15 filing deadline.  And you’re able to 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. Additionally you have the option to pay your balance by using the IRS Direct pay service from your checking or savings account, submitting 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) will lead to interest and penalties.

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

The good news: Most taxpayers do decide to e-file and find those benefits — and the process of doing so is simple.

How to e-file a tax return?

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

  • Free File Fillable Forms — If your income is over $72,000 and you’re comfortable doing your taxes without any assistance, you can use Free File Fillable Forms from the IRS. The types do the math for you and provide standard guidance.  You can simply do your federal return with all these forms. 
  • Utilize an online tax preparation tax or service software: Tax preparation software and online filing services are options.  These choices are an easy way to complete and e-file your forms.  Some applications suppliers charge for their programs, Some are free.   The program asks you simple questions about your own life and financing 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 help is typically limited based on income, and some services appeal to specific demographic groups.  For instance, Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs focus primarily on assisting filers who are 60 and older. 
  • Hire a paid preparer: Paid tax preparers, such as CPAs, can e-file yields for you if they’re authorized IRS e-file providers. The IRS maintains a record of authorized providers, but be aware this option is very likely to be the most costly one. 
  • Employing online tax preparation software is far and away the preferred approach of the majority of taxpayers.  In fact, the IRS says it expected over four tax returns to be filed through tax return prep program.

    Is e-filing really stable?

    While e-filing is convenient, you may be worried about safety — especially with so many data breaches.  But experts agree that this is not a problem that should dissuade you by e-filing.

    “In actuality, it can be more secure than paper filing as you’re sending your private information through an encrypted network as opposed to exposing your information in the email.”

    Dennis Chow, vice president of data security at SCIS Security, explains the IRS has set security measures in place to keep your data secure.  “Trainers normally use IRS particular APIs that require token sessions,” Chow says.  “All of this is routed over TLS encrypted connections.”

    It is important to employ a trustworthy service that will assist you file your taxes.  Chow advises to not e-file on a computer or use an online connection which is not private.

    Bottom line

    For most taxpayers, it is sensible 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 easy payment options.  Just make sure that you use tax planning software from a trusted source, so you can make certain the information which you supply to transmit to the IRS will be kept protected.