Virgin Rebel Richard Branson In His Own Words – Should I E-file My Taxes Online

Is e-filing a much better way to record your taxes? 

Americans and the IRS might not agree about everything, but they’re mostly 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 is a win-win for taxpayers and the IRS.

If you e-file your federal income tax return, you save the IRS cash because its employees don’t need to spend time manually processing your return. In return, you can get any refund you’re owed faster, particularly if you have it directly deposited to your bank accounts.

But what about security?  And can digital filing really give you access to all the forms you may need in case you’ve got a complex tax situation?  Are there situations when you can’t e-file?  Let’s look at the benefits of e-filing, and whether it might be the very best filing option for your needs.

If you’re Considering e-filing, some of the advantages include:

  1. Quick confirmation your forms have been obtained: 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 submit a paper filing, it can take six to eight months to receive a tax refund.  With e-filing, you are going to receive your money in 3 weeks or less.  Choosing direct deposit may also accelerate the refund process.

  2. Reduced likelihood of errors: According to the IRS, there is around a 1% error rate on e-filed yields, compared with a 20% rate of errors on paper filings.  The IRS also provides more info on problems discovered on e-filed yields compared with paper yields.

  3. Easy payment process: If you owe the IRS money, it’s easier to cover at your convenience when you e-file.  You can submit returns early and pay later if needed, as long as you pay from the April 15 filing deadline.  And you’re able to schedule electronic funds transfers to 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 option to pay your balance by using the IRS Immediate pay service from your checking or savings account, filing a credit card through a payment processor for a commission, or paying by check or money order. 

  4. Digital storage of tax data: Submitting returns electronically means there’s a digital backup of your tax records.  If something happens to your paperwork, you will have an electronic backup.

The fantastic news: Most taxpayers do decide to e-file and find those advantages — and the practice of doing this is simple.

The way to e-file a tax return?

  • Free File Fillable Forms — If your income is more than $72,000 and you are comfortable doing your taxes without any assistance, you can use Free File Fillable Forms from the IRS. The types do the math for you and offer standard advice.  You can only do your federal return with all these forms. 
  • Utilize an internet tax preparation tax or service software: Tax prep software and online filing services are alternatives.  These choices are a simple way to finish and e-file your forms.  Some software suppliers charge for their programs, Some are free.   The software asks you simple questions about your life and finances to steer you through the completion of your types.  
  • Get complimentary, in-person tax aid: In most states, you will find volunteers to help prepare and e-file yields.  However, eligibility for free aid is normally restricted based on income, and some providers appeal to specific demographic groups. 
  • Hire a paid preparer: Paid tax preparers, including CPAs, can e-file returns for you if they are licensed IRS e-file providers. The IRS maintains a database of authorized providers, but 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 the majority of taxpayers.  Actually, the IRS says it anticipated more than four tax returns to be submitted through tax return prep program.

    Is e-filing really secure?

    While e-filing is suitable, you may be worried about safety — particularly with all these data breaches.  But experts agree that this isn’t a problem which should deter you by e-filing.

    “In fact, it can be more secure than paper filing as you’re sending your private 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 that the IRS has put safety measures in place to keep your data safe.  “Trainers normally use IRS specific APIs that need token sessions,” Chow says.  “All of this can be routed over TLS encrypted connections.”

    It is important to employ a trustworthy service that will assist you file your taxes.  Chow advises not to e-file on a public computer or use an internet connection that isn’t confidential.

    Bottom line

    For most taxpayers, it is sensible 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 effortless payment choices.  Just make sure to use tax planning software from a dependable source, so you can ensure the information which you provide to transmit to the IRS will be kept protected.