Is e-filing really a much better way to file your taxes?
Americans and the IRS may not agree on everything, but they’re mostly on the 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.
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. And in return, you could get any refund you’re owed quicker, particularly if you have it directly deposited to your bank account.
But what about safety? And can digital filing really provide you access to all of the forms that you may need in case you’ve got 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 may be the very best filing option for your needs.
If you are thinking about e-filing, some of the advantages include:
- Quick affirmation your forms have been obtained: The IRS will confirm 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 safely.
Timely refunds: When you submit a paper filing, it can take six to eight months to be given a tax refund. With e-filing, you’ll get your money in three weeks or less. Choosing direct deposit can also speed up the refund procedure.
Reduced chance of errors: According to the IRS, there’s approximately a 1% error rate on e-filed yields, compared with a 20% speed of errors on paper filings. The IRS also provides more information on problems discovered on e-filed returns compared with paper yields.
Simple payment process: If you owe the IRS money, it’s easier to cover at your convenience when you e-file. You can submit returns early and pay later if necessary, as long as you pay by the April 15 filing deadline. And you can schedule electronic funds 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 choice to pay your balance by making use of the IRS Direct pay service from the 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 following the filing due date (typically April 15) will result in penalties and interest.
Digital storage of tax information: Submitting returns electronically implies there’s a digital backup of your tax documents. So if something happens to your paperwork, you will have a digital backup.
The good news: Most taxpayers do decide to e-file and get those benefits — and the practice of doing so is easy.
The way to e-file a tax return?
You have four options for submitting an electronically filed tax return to the IRS.
- Utilize IRS Free File: If your adjusted gross income is $72,000 or less you could be able to use the IRS Free File program.
- Free File Fillable Types — If your income is over $72,000 and you’re comfortable doing your taxes without help, you can use Free File Fillable Forms from the IRS. The types do the math for you and offer standard guidance. You can simply do your federal return with these kinds.
- Use an internet tax preparation tax or service applications: Tax prep software and online filing services are alternatives. These options are an easy way to complete and e-file your own forms. Some software suppliers charge for their apps, Some are free. The software asks you simple questions about your life and financing to guide you through the completion of your types.
- Get complimentary, in-person tax help: In most states, you will find volunteers to help prepare and e-file yields. However, eligibility for free aid is typically limited based on income, and some providers cater to particular demographic groups. By way of example, Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs focus primarily on assisting filers who are 60 and older. The IRS maintains a database of authorized providers, but you should be aware this option is likely to be the most costly one.
Employing online tax preparation software is far and away the favored approach of the majority of taxpayers. In fact, the IRS says it anticipated more than four tax returns to be submitted through tax return prep software.
Is e-filing really secure?
While e-filing is suitable, you could worry about safety — especially with all these data breaches. But experts agree that this is not an issue which should dissuade you by e-filing.
“E-filing a tax return has proven 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 as you’re sending your personal information through an encrypted network rather than exposing your data in the email.”
Dennis Chow, vice president of information security at SCIS Security, explains the IRS has put safety measures in place to keep your information safe. “Vendors typically utilize IRS specific APIs that need token sessions,” Chow says. “All this is routed over TLS encrypted connections”
It’s very important to employ a trustworthy service that will help you file your taxes. Chow advises not to e-file on a computer or use an online connection that is not private.
For many taxpayers, it makes sense 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 options. Just make sure to use tax planning software from a dependable source, so you can make certain the information which you provide to transmit to the IRS is going to be kept secure.