Is e-filing really a better way to record your taxes?
Americans and the IRS may not agree about everything, but they are largely on the exact same page in regards 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 as it’s 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 do not need to spend time manually processing your return. In return, you can find any refund you’re owed quicker, particularly if you have it directly deposited to your bank accounts.
But what about safety? And can electronic filing really give you access to all of the forms that you might need in case you have a complex tax situation? Are there ever situations when you can not e-file? Let us look at the advantages of e-filing, and whether it might be the very best filing option for your requirements.
If you’re Considering e-filing, a Few of the advantages include:
- Quick affirmation your forms have been received: The IRS will confirm a tax filing has been received within 24 hours of electronic submission. For paper filers, the IRS doesn’t 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 are going to receive your money in three weeks or not. Choosing direct deposit can also accelerate the refund procedure.
Reduced likelihood of errors: In accordance with the IRS, there is approximately a 1 percent error rate on e-filed returns, compared with a 20% speed of mistakes on paper filings. The IRS also provides more info on issues discovered on e-filed yields compared with paper yields.
Simple payment procedure: If you owe the IRS money, it’s simpler to pay at your convenience if you e-file. It’s possible to submit returns early and pay later if needed, provided that you pay from the April 15 filing deadline. You also have the option to pay your balance by using the IRS Direct pay service from your checking or savings account, submitting 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) can result in interest and penalties.
Digital storage of tax information: Submitting returns electronically implies there is an electronic copy of your tax records. If something happens to your paperwork, you will have an electronic backup.
The good news: Most taxpayers do opt to e-file and get those advantages — and the process of doing this 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 have the ability to use the IRS Free File program. The types do the math for you and provide standard advice. You can only do your federal return with all these kinds.
- Use an internet tax preparation tax or service applications: Tax preparation software and online filing services are alternatives. These choices are an easy way to finish and e-file your forms. Some software providers charge for their apps, Some are free. The program asks you simple questions about your life and financing to steer 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. However, eligibility for free help is typically limited based on earnings, and some providers appeal to particular demographic groups.
- Hire a paid preparer: Paid tax preparers, including CPAs, can e-file returns for you if they’re licensed IRS e-file providers. The IRS maintains a record of authorized providers, but be aware this option is likely to be the most costly one.
Employing online tax prep software is far and away the preferred approach of most taxpayers. In fact, the IRS says it anticipated more than four in five tax returns to be submitted through tax return prep program.
Is e-filing really secure?
While e-filing is suitable, you may worry about security — especially with so many data breaches. But experts agree this isn’t an issue that should dissuade 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, marketing and revenue at LegalShield. “In fact, it can be more secure than paper filing as you’re sending your personal information through an encrypted network as opposed to exposing your data in the mail.”
Dennis Chow, vice president of information security at SCIS Security, explains the IRS has set safety measures in place to keep your data safe. “Trainers normally use IRS specific APIs that require token sessions,” Chow says. “All this can be routed over TLS encrypted connections”
It is important to use a trusted service that will help you file your taxes. Chow advises not to e-file on a computer or use an online connection that isn’t confidential.
For most taxpayers, it is sensible to e-file a return since it’s the most convenient way to file your tax information to the IRS and it allows for timely refunds and effortless payment options. Just make sure to use tax planning software from a trusted source, so you may make certain the information you provide to transmit to the IRS will be kept protected.