Is e-filing a better way to file your taxes?
Americans and the IRS may not agree on everything, but they’re mostly on the same page in regards to e-filing individual income tax returns.
Nearly all individual income tax returns submitted to the IRS are e-filed. E-filing is popular as it is a win-win for taxpayers and the IRS.
When you e-file your federal income tax return, you conserve the IRS cash because its workers don’t need to spend time manually processing your return. And in return, you could find any refund you are owed faster, especially if you have it directly deposited into your bank account.
But what about safety? And can electronic filing really provide you access to all the forms you may need in case 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 might be the very best filing option for your requirements.
If you are thinking about e-filing, some of the advantages include:
- Quick affirmation your forms are obtained: The IRS will confirm a tax filing has been received within one day of electronic 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 be given a tax refund. With e-filing, you’ll get your money in 3 weeks or not. Choosing direct deposit can also speed up the refund process.
Reduced likelihood of mistakes: In accordance with the IRS, there’s around a 1% error rate on e-filed yields, compared with a 20% rate of mistakes on paper filings. The IRS also provides more info on problems discovered on e-filed yields compared with paper returns.
Easy payment process: If you owe the IRS money, it is 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. Additionally you have the choice to pay your balance by making use of the IRS Direct pay service from the checking account or savings account, filing 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 copy of your tax documents. If something happens to your paperwork, then you’ll have a digital backup.
The fantastic news: Most taxpayers do decide to e-file and find those advantages — and the process of doing this is easy.
You have four choices for filing an electronically filed tax return to the IRS.
- Utilize IRS Free File: If your adjusted gross income is $72,000 or less you could have the ability to use the IRS Free File program. The forms do the math for you and provide standard guidance. You can only do your federal return with all these kinds.
- Utilize an online tax preparation tax or service applications: Tax preparation software and online filing services are options. These options are an easy way to finish and e-file your forms. Some applications providers charge for their apps, Some are free. The software asks you simple questions about your own life and finances to steer you through the completion of your types.
- Get free, in-person tax aid: In most states, you will find volunteers to help prepare and e-file returns. But eligibility for free aid is normally restricted based on income, and some providers appeal to particular demographic groups. By way of instance, Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs focus primarily on assisting filers that are 60 and older.
- Hire a paid preparer: Paid tax preparers, including CPAs, can e-file returns for you if they’re authorized IRS e-file providers. The IRS maintains a database of authorized providers, but you should 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. In fact, the IRS says it expected more than four in five tax returns to be submitted through tax return prep software.
Is e-filing really stable?
While e-filing is suitable, you may be worried about security — particularly with all these data breaches. But experts agree that this is not a problem that 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, advertising and revenue at LegalShield. “In fact, it can be more secure than paper filing since 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, clarifies that the IRS has set safety measures in place to keep your information secure. “Vendors typically utilize IRS specific APIs that require token sessions,” Chow says. “All of this can be routed over TLS encrypted connections”
It is important to employ a trustworthy service that will help you record your taxes. Chow advises to not e-file on a public computer or use an internet connection which is not confidential.
For most taxpayers, it makes sense to e-file a return 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 be sure to use tax planning software from a dependable source, so that you may ensure the information you supply to transmit to the IRS is going to be kept secure.