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

Americans and the IRS might not agree on everything, but they’re largely 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 is a win-win for taxpayers and the IRS.

And in return, you could get any refund you’re owed faster, especially if you have it directly deposited into your bank account.

But what about safety?  And can electronic filing actually provide you access to all of the forms you might need in case you’ve got a intricate tax situation?  Are there situations when you can not e-file?  Let’s look at the advantages of e-filing, and if it might be the very best filing choice for your requirements.

If you are thinking about e-filing, a Few of the advantages include:

  1. Quick confirmation your forms are obtained: The IRS will affirm a tax filing has been received within 24 hours of digital submission.  For paper filers, the IRS does not send any acknowledgment that your forms have arrived safely. 

    Timely refunds: When you publish a paper filing, it can take six to eight months to be given a tax refund.  With e-filing, you are going to receive your money in 3 weeks or less.  Choosing direct deposit may also speed up the refund process.

  2. Reduced likelihood of mistakes: In accordance with the IRS, there is 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 information on problems discovered on e-filed returns compared with paper yields.

  3. Easy payment process: If you owe the IRS money, it is easier to pay at your convenience if you e-file.  It’s possible to submit returns early and pay later if necessary, provided that you pay from the April 15 filing deadline.  And you’re able to 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 using the IRS Immediate pay service from your checking account 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 penalties and interest.

  4. Digital storage of taxation data: Submitting returns electronically implies there is a digital copy of your tax records.  If something happens to your paperwork, you will have an electronic backup.

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

How to e-file a tax return?

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

    1. Utilize IRS Free File: If your adjusted gross income is $72,000 or not as you could be able to use the IRS Free File program.  The forms do the math for you and provide standard guidance.  You can simply do your federal return with these forms. 
    2. Use an internet tax preparation service or tax applications: Tax preparation software and online filing services are options.  These choices are a simple way to complete and e-file your own forms.  Some applications providers charge for their programs, Some are free.   The software asks you simple questions about your life and financing to steer you through the completion of your types.  
    3. Get complimentary, in-person tax help: In most states, you will find volunteers to help prepare and e-file yields.  But eligibility for free help is normally restricted based on earnings, and a few services appeal to specific demographic groups. 
    4. Hire a paid preparer: Paid tax preparers, including CPAs, can e-file yields for you if they’re authorized IRS e-file providers. The IRS maintains a database of authorized providers, but be aware this alternative is likely to be the most costly one. 

Employing online tax preparation software is far and away the favored approach of most taxpayers.  Actually, the IRS says it anticipated more than four tax returns to be submitted through tax return prep program.

Is e-filing really secure?

While e-filing is convenient, you could worry about safety — especially with so many data breaches.  But experts agree that this is not an issue that should deter you from e-filing.

“In fact, it can be more secure than paper filing since you’re sending your private information through an encrypted system rather than exposing your information in the mail.”

Dennis Chow, vice president of information security at SCIS Security, clarifies that the IRS has put safety measures in place to keep your data secure.  “Vendors typically utilize IRS particular APIs that require ab sessions,” Chow says.  “All this can be routed over TLS encrypted connections”

It is important to employ a trusted service that will help you record your taxes.  Chow advises to not e-file on a public computer or use an online connection that is not private.

Bottom line

For most taxpayers, it makes sense to e-file a return since it is the most convenient way to submit your tax information to the IRS and it allows for timely refunds and effortless payment choices.  Just make certain that you use tax preparation software from a trusted source, so that you may make certain the information you provide to transmit to the IRS is going to be kept secure.