Is e-filing a better way to file your taxes?
Americans and the IRS might not agree on everything, but they are largely on the exact 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 a favorite because it’s a win-win for taxpayers and the IRS.
In return, you could get any refund you’re owed quicker, especially in the event that you have it directly deposited into your bank accounts.
But what about safety? And can electronic filing actually provide you access to all the forms you may need in case you’ve got a complex tax situation? Are there situations when you can not e-file? Let us look at the benefits of e-filing, and whether it may be the best filing option for your requirements.
If you’re Considering e-filing, some of the advantages include:
- Quick affirmation your forms are 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 that your forms have arrived safely.
Timely refunds: When you publish a paper filing, it can take six to eight weeks to be given a tax refund. With e-filing, you’ll receive your money in three weeks or less. Choosing direct deposit can also accelerate the refund process.
Reduced likelihood of errors: According to the IRS, there is approximately a 1 percent error rate on e-filed yields, compared with a 20% speed of mistakes on paper filings. The IRS also provides more info on problems discovered on e-filed yields compared with paper returns.
Easy payment procedure: If you owe the IRS money, it’s simpler to pay at your advantage if you e-file. You can submit returns early and pay later if needed, provided that you pay from the April 15 filing deadline. And you’re able to schedule electronic money 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. You also have the choice to pay your balance by using the IRS Direct pay service from the checking or savings account, filing 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 lead to penalties and interest.
Digital storage of tax information: Submitting returns electronically implies there is an electronic backup of your tax documents. If something happens to your paperwork, you’ll have an electronic backup.
The fantastic news: Most taxpayers do opt to e-file and get those advantages — and the practice of doing this is easy.
You have four options 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 have the ability to use the IRS Free File program.
- Free File Fillable Forms — If your income is more than $72,000 and you are comfortable doing your earnings without any help, you can use Free File Fillable Forms from the IRS. The forms do the math for you and provide standard advice. You can only do your federal return with all these kinds.
- Utilize an internet tax preparation service or tax software: Tax prep software and online filing services are alternatives. These options are a simple way to complete and e-file your own forms. Some applications providers charge for their apps, Some are free. The software asks you simple questions about your own life and financing to steer you through the completion of your forms.
- Get free, in-person tax help: In most states, you will find volunteers to help prepare and e-file yields. However, eligibility for free help is normally restricted based on income, and a few providers appeal to particular demographic groups. By way of 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’re authorized IRS e-file providers. The IRS maintains a record of licensed providers, but you should be aware this option is likely to be the most costly one.
Using online tax prep software is far and away the favored approach of most taxpayers. Actually, the IRS says it expected more than four in five tax returns to be filed through tax return prep software.
Is e-filing really stable?
While e-filing is convenient, you could be worried about security — particularly with all these data breaches. But experts agree that this isn’t an issue which should deter you from e-filing.
“E-filing a tax return has turned out to be an extremely secure way to file your taxes,” says Scott Grissom, vice president of product direction, advertising and sales at LegalShield. “In actuality, it can be more secure than paper filing as you’re sending your personal information through an encrypted network rather than exposing your data in the mail.”
Dennis Chow, vice president of data security at SCIS Security, clarifies that the IRS has set security measures in place to keep your data safe. “Trainers normally use IRS particular APIs that require token sessions,” Chow says. “All of this is routed over TLS encrypted connections”
It’s important to employ a trustworthy service to help you file your taxes. Chow advises to not e-file on a computer or use an online connection which is not confidential.
For most taxpayers, it makes sense to e-file a return because it’s the most convenient way to file your tax information to the IRS and it allows for timely refunds and easy payment choices. Just make sure that you use tax planning software from a dependable source, so that you may ensure the information which you provide to transmit to the IRS will be kept protected.