Is e-filing really a better way to file your taxes?
Americans and the IRS may not agree on everything, but they’re mostly on precisely the same page when it comes to e-filing individual income tax returns.
The majority of individual income tax returns submitted to the IRS are e-filed. E-filing is a favorite as it’s a win-win for taxpayers and the IRS.
In return, you can get any refund you’re owed faster, especially in the event that you have it directly deposited to your bank account.
But what about security? And can digital filing actually provide you access to all of the forms you might need in case you’ve got 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 may be the best filing option for your needs.
If you’re Considering e-filing, some of the advantages include:
- Quick confirmation your forms are received: The IRS will affirm a tax filing has been received within 24 hours of electronic submission. For paper filers, the IRS doesn’t send any acknowledgment your forms have arrived safely.
Timely refunds: When you submit 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 three weeks or less. Choosing direct deposit can also speed up the refund process.
Reduced likelihood of mistakes: According to the IRS, there is around a 1 percent error rate on e-filed returns, compared with a 20% speed of errors on paper filings. The IRS also provides more information on problems discovered on e-filed yields compared with paper yields.
Easy payment process: If you owe the IRS money, it is simpler to pay at your advantage when you e-file. You can 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 Immediate pay service from the checking account 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 after the filing due date (typically April 15) will result in interest and penalties.
Digital storage of tax data: Submitting returns electronically means there is an electronic copy of your tax records. So if something happens to your paperwork, then you will have an electronic backup.
The fantastic news: Most taxpayers do decide to e-file and get those benefits — and the practice of doing this is simple.
How to e-file a tax return?
You have four options for filing 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 Types — If your income is more than $72,000 and you are comfortable doing your taxes without help, you can use Free File Fillable Forms from the IRS. The types do the math for you and provide basic advice. You can only do your federal return with these forms.
- Use an internet tax preparation tax or service software: Tax preparation software and online filing services are options. These options are a simple way to complete and e-file your own forms. Some software suppliers 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 complimentary, in-person tax aid: In most states, you can find volunteers to help prepare and e-file returns. However, eligibility for free aid is typically limited based on income, and a few providers cater to particular demographic groups. The IRS maintains a database of licensed providers, but be aware this alternative is likely to be the most costly one.
Using online tax prep software is far and away the favored approach of the majority of taxpayers. Actually, the IRS says it anticipated over four tax returns to be submitted through tax return prep program.
Is e-filing really secure?
While e-filing is suitable, you could be worried about safety — especially with so many data breaches. But experts agree this is not a problem which should dissuade you from e-filing.
“In fact, it may be more secure than paper filing as you’re sending your personal information through an encrypted network rather than exposing your information in the mail.”
Dennis Chow, vice president of data security at SCIS Security, explains that the IRS has set security measures in place to keep your information secure. “Vendors typically utilize IRS particular APIs that need token sessions,” Chow says. “All of this is routed over TLS encrypted links .”
It’s important to employ a trusted service to assist you file your taxes. Chow advises to not e-file on a computer or use an online connection which isn’t private.
For many 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 effortless payment options. Just be certain that you use tax preparation software from a trusted source, so that you can ensure the information which you provide to transmit to the IRS is going to be kept protected.