Is e-filing really a better way to record your taxes?
Americans and the IRS may not agree on everything, but they’re largely on 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. E-filing is popular because it’s a win-win for taxpayers and the IRS.
When you e-file your federal income tax return, you save the IRS money because its workers do not have to spend time manually processing your return. In return, you could get any refund you’re owed quicker, especially in the event that you have it directly deposited to your bank accounts.
But what about security? And can electronic filing really give you access to all the forms that you may need in case you have a intricate tax situation? Are there ever situations when you can’t e-file? Let’s look at the benefits of e-filing, and if it might be the best filing option for your needs.
If you’re Considering e-filing, a Few of the advantages include:
- Quick affirmation your forms are obtained: The IRS will confirm a tax filing was received within 24 hours of digital submission. For paper filers, the IRS does not 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 3 weeks or not. Choosing direct deposit may also speed up the refund process.
Reduced likelihood of mistakes: In accordance with the IRS, there’s approximately a 1% 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 yields compared with paper yields.
Simple payment procedure: If you owe the IRS money, it’s easier to pay at your convenience when you e-file. You can submit returns early and pay later if needed, as long as you pay by 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 commission, or paying by check or money order. Just be aware delaying payment following the filing due date (typically April 15) will result in interest and penalties.
Digital storage of taxation information: Submitting returns electronically means there is a digital copy of your tax documents. So if something happens to your paperwork, you’ll have a digital backup.
The fantastic news: Most taxpayers do decide to e-file and get those advantages — and the practice of doing this is easy.
- Use 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 more than $72,000 and you’re comfortable doing your taxes without any assistance, you can use Free File Fillable Forms from the IRS. The forms do the math for you and provide basic advice. You can simply do your federal return with these kinds.
- Use an online tax preparation tax or service software: Tax prep software and online filing services are alternatives. These choices are an easy way to finish and e-file your own forms. Some applications providers charge for their apps, Some are liberated. The software 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 will find volunteers to help prepare and e-file yields. But eligibility for free aid is normally restricted based on income, 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. The IRS maintains a database of authorized providers, but be aware this alternative is very likely to be the most costly one.
Employing online tax prep software is far and away the preferred approach of the majority of taxpayers. Actually, the IRS says it anticipated over four in five tax returns to be filed through tax return prep program.
Is e-filing really secure?
While e-filing is suitable, you may be worried about security — especially with so many data breaches. But experts agree this is not an issue which should dissuade you by e-filing.
“E-filing a tax return has proven to be an extremely secure way to file your taxes,” says Scott Grissom, vice president of product leadership, marketing and sales at LegalShield. “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 information safe. “Trainers normally use IRS specific APIs that need token sessions,” Chow says. “All this is routed over TLS encrypted links “
It’s very important to use a trusted service to help you record your taxes. Chow advises not to e-file on a computer or utilize an online connection that is not confidential.
For many taxpayers, it makes sense to e-file a yield because it is the most convenient way to submit your tax information to the IRS and it allows for timely refunds and easy payment choices. Just make 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.