Is e-filing a better way to file your taxes?
Americans and the IRS may not agree about 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 filed to the IRS are e-filed.
When you e-file your federal income tax return, you conserve the IRS cash because its workers don’t have to spend time manually processing your return. In return, you could get any refund you are owed quicker, particularly in the event that you have it directly deposited into your bank account.
However, what about security? And can electronic filing actually provide you access to all the forms that you might need if you have a intricate tax situation? Are there situations when you can’t e-file? Let’s look at the advantages of e-filing, and whether it might be the best filing option for your needs.
If you’re thinking about e-filing, a Few of the advantages include:
- Quick confirmation your forms have been 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 your forms have arrived safely.
Timely refunds: When you submit 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 not. Choosing direct deposit can also accelerate the refund process.
Reduced likelihood of errors: According to 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 info on problems discovered on e-filed returns compared with paper returns.
Easy payment process: If you owe the IRS money, it’s simpler to pay at your convenience if you e-file. You can submit returns early and pay afterwards if needed, provided that you pay from the April 15 filing deadline. And you can schedule electronic funds transfers to easily send the IRS what you owe on a date of your choosing again, as long as the IRS receives your payment by Tax Day. Additionally you have the choice to pay your balance by using the IRS Immediate pay service from the checking or savings accounts, submitting a credit card through a payment processor for a commission, or paying by check or money order.
Digital storage of tax information: Submitting returns electronically implies there’s a digital backup of your tax records. If something happens to your paperwork, then you will have an electronic backup.
The good news: Most taxpayers do opt to e-file and get those benefits — and the practice of doing so is easy.
You have four choices for submitting an electronically filed tax return to the IRS.
- Use IRS Free File: If your adjusted gross income is $72,000 or less 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 earnings without assistance, you can use Free File Fillable Forms from the IRS. The types do the math for you and offer basic advice. You can simply do your federal return with these kinds.
- Use an online tax preparation service or tax software: Tax preparation software and online filing services are options. These choices are a simple way to complete and e-file your own forms. Some software providers charge for their apps, Some are liberated. The software asks you simple questions about your own life and financing 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 help is normally restricted based on earnings, and a few providers appeal to particular demographic groups. For example, Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs focus primarily on helping filers that are 60 and older.
- Hire a paid preparer: Paid tax preparers, including CPAs, can e-file yields for you if they are authorized IRS e-file providers. The IRS maintains a database of licensed providers, but be aware this alternative is very likely to be the most costly one.
Employing online tax preparation software is far and away the preferred approach of the majority of taxpayers. Actually, the IRS says it anticipated over four tax returns to be filed through tax return prep software.
Is e-filing really stable?
While e-filing is suitable, you could be worried about security — especially with all these data breaches. But experts agree that this is not an issue which should deter you from e-filing.
“In actuality, it can be more secure than paper filing as you’re sending your private information through an encrypted network as opposed to exposing your information in the mail.”
Dennis Chow, vice president of information security at SCIS Security, explains that the IRS has set security measures in place to keep your information secure. “Trainers normally use IRS particular APIs that need ab sessions,” Chow says. “All of this is 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 isn’t 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 easy payment choices. Just make certain that you use tax planning software from a dependable source, so you can make certain the information you supply to transmit to the IRS will be kept protected.