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 precisely the same page in regards 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 because it is a win-win for taxpayers and the IRS.
In return, you could get any refund you are owed quicker, particularly if you have it directly deposited to your bank account.
But what about security? And can digital filing really give you access to all of 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 if it may be the very best filing choice for your needs.
If you are thinking about e-filing, some of the advantages include:
- Quick confirmation your forms have been obtained: The IRS will affirm a tax filing has been received within one day of electronic submission. For paper filers, the IRS does not send any acknowledgment your forms have arrived safely.
Timely refunds: When you publish a paper filing, it may take six to eight months to be given a tax refund. With e-filing, you’ll receive your money in three weeks or less. Choosing direct deposit may 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 errors on paper filings. The IRS also provides more info on problems discovered on e-filed yields compared with paper returns.
Easy payment process: If you owe the IRS money, it is easier to pay at your advantage if you e-file. It’s possible to submit returns early and pay afterwards if necessary, as long as you pay by 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, 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 your checking or savings accounts, filing a credit card through a payment processor for a commission, or paying by check or money order.
Digital storage of tax information: Submitting returns electronically means there’s an electronic 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 opt to e-file and find those benefits — and the practice of doing so is easy.
The way to e-file a tax return?
Using online tax prep software is far and away the preferred approach of the majority of taxpayers. Actually, the IRS says it anticipated over four in five tax returns to be submitted through tax return prep software.
Is e-filing really secure?
While e-filing is convenient, you could worry about safety — especially with so many data breaches. But experts agree this is not a problem which should dissuade you from e-filing.
“E-filing a tax return has proven to be an extremely secure way to file your taxes,” says Scott Grissom, vice president of product leadership, advertising and revenue at LegalShield. “In actuality, it can be more secure than paper filing as you’re sending your private information through an encrypted system rather than exposing your information in the email.”
Dennis Chow, vice president of data security at SCIS Security, explains the IRS has set security measures in place to keep your data secure. “Trainers normally use IRS specific APIs that need token sessions,” Chow says. “All this is routed over TLS encrypted connections”
It is important to use a trustworthy service to assist you record your taxes. Chow advises to not e-file on a computer or use an internet connection that isn’t private.
For many 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 effortless payment options. Just be certain that you use tax planning software from a trusted source, so you may ensure the information you supply to transmit to the IRS will be kept protected.