Is e-filing a much better way to record your taxes?
Americans and the IRS might not agree on everything, but they’re largely on the same page in regards to e-filing individual income tax returns.
Nearly all individual income tax returns filed to the IRS are e-filed. E-filing is popular as it is a win-win for taxpayers and the IRS.
And in return, you can find any refund you’re owed quicker, particularly if you have it directly deposited to your bank accounts.
However, what about security? And can digital filing really provide you access to all the forms that you may need in case you have a intricate tax situation? Are there situations when you can’t e-file? Let us look at the benefits of e-filing, and if it may be the best filing choice for your needs.
If you’re Considering e-filing, some of the advantages include:
- Quick affirmation your forms have been obtained: The IRS will confirm a tax filing has been received within 24 hours of digital submission. For paper filers, the IRS doesn’t send any acknowledgment that your forms have arrived safely.
Timely refunds: When you publish a paper filing, it may take six to eight months to receive a tax refund. With e-filing, you’ll get your money in 3 weeks or less. Choosing direct deposit can also speed up the refund procedure.
Reduced chance of errors: According to the IRS, there is around a 1 percent error rate on e-filed returns, compared with a 20% speed of mistakes on paper filings. The IRS also provides more information on problems discovered on e-filed returns compared with paper returns.
Easy payment procedure: If you owe the IRS money, it’s easier to pay at your convenience if you e-file. It’s possible to submit returns early and pay later if necessary, as long as you pay from the April 15 filing deadline. And you’re able to schedule electronic money 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. You also have the option to pay your balance by making use of the IRS Direct pay service from your checking or savings accounts, 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 result in interest and penalties.
Digital storage of tax data: Submitting returns electronically implies there is a digital copy of your tax records. So if something happens to your paperwork, then you will have a digital backup.
The fantastic news: Most taxpayers do opt 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 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 be able to use the IRS Free File program.
- Free File Fillable Forms — If your income is over $72,000 and you are comfortable doing your earnings without help, you can use Free File Fillable Forms from the IRS. The types do the math for you and offer basic guidance. You can simply do your federal return with these forms.
- Utilize an online tax preparation tax or service software: Tax prep software and online filing services are alternatives. These options are an easy way to complete and e-file your forms. Some applications suppliers charge for their apps, Some are free. The program asks you simple questions about your life and finances to guide you through the completion of your forms.
- Get complimentary, in-person tax help: In most states, you can find volunteers to help prepare and e-file returns. However, eligibility for free help is normally restricted based on earnings, and some providers appeal to specific demographic groups. By way of example, Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs focus primarily on helping filers that are 60 and older. The IRS maintains a record of authorized providers, but you should be aware this alternative is very likely to be the most costly one.
Using online tax preparation software is far and away the favored approach of the majority of taxpayers. Actually, the IRS says it expected over four tax returns to be submitted through tax return prep software.
Is e-filing really stable?
While e-filing is convenient, you may worry about safety — particularly with so many data breaches. But experts agree that this isn’t an issue which should deter you by e-filing.
“In actuality, it may be more secure than paper filing as you’re sending your personal information through an encrypted network rather than exposing your information in the mail.”
Dennis Chow, vice president of data security at SCIS Security, explains that the IRS has set safety measures in place to keep your information safe. “Vendors typically utilize IRS specific APIs that need ab sessions,” Chow says. “All of this can be routed over TLS encrypted connections.”
It’s important to use a trusted service that will help you file your taxes. Chow advises to not e-file on a public computer or use an internet connection which isn’t private.
For many taxpayers, it makes sense to e-file a return because it’s the most convenient way to file your tax information to the IRS and it allows for timely refunds and effortless payment options. Just make certain that you use tax planning software from a trusted source, so that you can ensure the information you supply to transmit to the IRS will be kept protected.