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

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

Americans and the IRS may not agree about everything, but they’re mostly on the exact same page when it comes to e-filing individual income tax returns.

The majority of individual income tax returns submitted to the IRS are e-filed.  E-filing is a favorite because it’s a win-win for taxpayers and the IRS.

If you e-file your federal income tax return, you conserve the IRS money because its workers don’t need to spend time manually processing your return. In return, you can get any refund you are owed quicker, particularly if you have it directly deposited to your bank account.

But what about security?  And can digital filing really provide you access to all of the forms that you may need if you have a complex tax situation?  Are there situations when you can’t e-file?  Let us look at the advantages of e-filing, and whether it may be the best filing option for your requirements.

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

  1. Quick affirmation your forms have been received: The IRS will confirm a tax filing was received within 24 hours of electronic submission.  For paper filers, the IRS does not send any acknowledgment your forms have arrived safely. 
  2. 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 get your money in 3 weeks or less.  Choosing direct deposit may also speed up the refund process.

  3. Reduced chance of errors: According to the IRS, there’s around a 1 percent error rate on e-filed yields, 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 yields.

  4. Simple payment procedure: If you owe the IRS money, it’s simpler to cover at your convenience if you e-file.  It’s possible to submit returns early and pay later if necessary, as long as you pay by the April 15 filing deadline.  You also have the option to pay your balance by using the IRS Immediate pay service from the checking or savings accounts, submitting a credit card through a payment processor for a fee, 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.

  5. Digital storage of tax information: Submitting returns electronically means there is a digital backup of your tax documents.  So if something happens to your paperwork, then you will have an electronic backup.

The fantastic news: Most taxpayers do opt to e-file and get those advantages — and the practice of doing this is easy.

  • 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 forms do the math for you and offer standard guidance.  You can only do your federal return with these kinds. 
  • Use an online tax preparation service or tax software: Tax preparation software and online filing services are options.  These choices are a simple way to complete and e-file your forms.  Some software suppliers charge for their apps, Some are liberated.   The program asks you simple questions about your own life and finances to steer you through the completion of your types.  
  • Get complimentary, in-person tax help: In most states, you can find volunteers to help prepare and e-file yields.  However, eligibility for free help is normally restricted based on earnings, and some providers appeal to specific demographic groups.  For instance, Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs focus primarily on helping filers that are 60 and older. 
  • Hire a paid preparer: Paid tax preparers, such as CPAs, can e-file yields for you if they are licensed IRS e-file providers. The IRS maintains a database of authorized providers, but be aware this alternative is very likely to be the most costly one. 

    Using online tax prep 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 submitted through tax return prep program.

    Is e-filing really stable?

    While e-filing is convenient, you could be worried about safety — particularly with all these data breaches.  But experts agree that this isn’t an issue which should deter you by e-filing.

    “In fact, it can be more secure than paper filing since you’re sending your personal information through an encrypted system rather than exposing your information 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 data safe.  “Vendors typically utilize IRS specific APIs that need ab sessions,” Chow says.  “All this can be routed over TLS encrypted links .”

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

    Bottom line

    For many 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 that you use tax planning software from a trusted source, so you may ensure the information you provide to transmit to the IRS will be kept protected.