Is e-filing really a better way to file your taxes?
Americans and the IRS might not agree on everything, but they are mostly on the exact 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’s a win-win for taxpayers and the IRS.
When you e-file your federal income tax return, you save the IRS money because its employees do not need to spend time manually processing your return. And in return, you can get any refund you are owed quicker, particularly if you have it directly deposited into your bank account.
However, what about safety? And can electronic filing actually give you access to all the forms that you may need if you have a intricate 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 choice for your needs.
If you are thinking about e-filing, some of the advantages include:
- Quick confirmation your forms have been received: The IRS will confirm a tax filing was received within one day of digital 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 weeks to be given a tax refund. With e-filing, you are going to get your money in 3 weeks or less. Choosing direct deposit can also accelerate the refund process.
Reduced likelihood of errors: According to the IRS, there is around a 1% error rate on e-filed returns, compared with a 20% speed of mistakes on paper filings. The IRS also provides more information on problems discovered on e-filed returns compared with paper yields.
Easy payment procedure: If you owe the IRS money, it’s simpler to cover at your convenience when you e-file. You can submit returns early and pay afterwards if necessary, as long as you pay from the April 15 filing deadline. And you can schedule electronic money transfers to easily send the IRS what you owe on a date of your choosing — again, provided that the IRS receives your payment by Tax Day. Additionally you have the option to pay your balance by using the IRS Immediate pay service from the checking account or savings accounts, filing 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) can lead to interest and penalties.
Digital storage of tax information: Submitting returns electronically means there is a digital copy of your tax documents. So if something happens to your paperwork, then you’ll have a digital backup.
The good news: Most taxpayers do decide to e-file and find those advantages — and the practice of doing so is simple.
You have four options for submitting 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 basic guidance. You can simply do your federal return with these kinds.
- Utilize an online tax preparation tax or service software: Tax preparation software and online filing services are options. These choices are an easy way to complete and e-file your forms. Some software providers charge for their apps, Some are liberated. The software asks you simple questions about your life and financing to steer you through the completion of your types.
- Get free, in-person tax help: In most states, you can find volunteers to help prepare and e-file returns. However, eligibility for free help is normally restricted based on earnings, and some providers appeal to specific demographic groups. For example, Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs focus primarily on assisting filers who are 60 and older. The IRS maintains a database of licensed providers, but be aware this option is likely to be the most costly one.
Employing online tax preparation software is far and away the favored approach of most taxpayers. Actually, the IRS says it anticipated over four in five tax returns to be submitted through tax return prep program.
Is e-filing really stable?
While e-filing is convenient, you could worry about safety — particularly with all these data breaches. But experts agree this is not a problem that should dissuade you from e-filing.
“E-filing a tax return has proven to be a very secure way to file your taxes,” says Scott Grissom, vice president of product direction, marketing and revenue at LegalShield. “In actuality, it may be more secure than paper filing since you’re sending your personal information through an encrypted system as opposed to exposing your information in the mail.”
Dennis Chow, vice president of information security at SCIS Security, clarifies that the IRS has put security measures in place to keep your data safe. “Vendors typically utilize IRS particular APIs that need token sessions,” Chow says. “All this can be routed over TLS encrypted links “
It’s very important to use a trustworthy service that will help you record your taxes. Chow advises to not e-file on a computer or utilize an internet connection that is not confidential.
For most taxpayers, it makes sense to e-file a return since it is 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 dependable source, so you may make certain the information which you provide to transmit to the IRS will be kept protected.