Is e-filing really a better way to file your taxes?
Americans and the IRS may not agree about everything, but they are largely on precisely the same page when it comes to e-filing individual income tax returns.
The majority of individual income tax returns filed to the IRS are e-filed.
In return, you could find any refund you’re owed quicker, especially in the event that you have it directly deposited into your bank account.
However, what about safety? And can electronic filing actually give you access to all of the forms that you may need if you’ve got a complex tax situation? Are there ever situations when you can not e-file? Let us look at the advantages of e-filing, and if it may be the very best filing choice for your needs.
If you’re thinking about e-filing, some of the advantages include:
- Quick confirmation your forms have been received: The IRS will confirm a tax filing was received within one day of digital submission. For paper filers, the IRS doesn’t send any acknowledgment your forms have arrived .
Timely refunds: When you publish a paper filing, it may take six to eight months to receive a tax refund. With e-filing, you are going to get your money in three weeks or less. Choosing direct deposit can also accelerate the refund process.
Reduced chance of errors: In accordance with the IRS, there’s around a 1% error rate on e-filed yields, compared with a 20% rate of errors on paper filings. The IRS also provides more info on issues discovered on e-filed yields compared with paper returns.
Easy payment procedure: If you owe the IRS money, it is easier to pay at your advantage when you e-file. You can submit returns early and pay afterwards if necessary, provided that you pay by the April 15 filing deadline. And you can 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. You also have the choice to pay your balance by using the IRS Direct pay service from your checking account 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 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 an electronic copy of your tax documents. If something happens to your paperwork, then you’ll 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 simple.
You have four choices 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 may be able to use the IRS Free File program. The types do the math for you and offer standard advice. You can only do your federal return with all these forms.
- Use an online tax preparation service or tax 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 programs, 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 yields. But eligibility for free aid is typically limited based on earnings, and a few providers appeal to specific demographic groups. The IRS maintains a record of authorized providers, but be aware this alternative is likely to be the most costly one.
Using online tax preparation software is far and away the preferred approach of the majority of taxpayers. Actually, the IRS says it expected over four tax returns to be filed through tax return prep software.
Is e-filing really stable?
While e-filing is suitable, you may worry about safety — particularly with so many data breaches. But experts agree this is not an issue that should deter you by e-filing.
“In actuality, it can be more secure than paper filing since you’re sending your private information through an encrypted system as opposed to exposing your information in the mail.”
Dennis Chow, vice president of information security at SCIS Security, clarifies that the IRS has set security measures in place to keep your data secure. “Trainers normally use IRS specific APIs that need token sessions,” Chow says. “All of this is routed over TLS encrypted links .”
It is important to employ a trustworthy service to assist you file your taxes. Chow advises not to e-file on a computer or use an internet connection which is not private.
For many taxpayers, it makes sense 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 effortless payment choices. Just be sure to use tax preparation software from a trusted source, so that you can make certain the information you provide to transmit to the IRS will be kept secure.