Is e-filing a better way to file your taxes?
Americans and the IRS may not agree on everything, but they are largely on 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.
And in return, you could get any refund you are owed quicker, especially if you have it directly deposited to your bank accounts.
But what about security? And can digital filing actually give you access to all of the forms you may need if you’ve got a intricate tax situation? Are there ever situations when you can not e-file? Let’s look at the advantages of e-filing, and whether it may be the best filing choice for your needs.
If you are thinking about e-filing, a Few of the advantages include:
- Quick affirmation your forms have been obtained: 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 safely.
Timely refunds: When you submit a paper filing, it can take six to eight weeks to receive a tax refund. With e-filing, you are going to receive your money in three weeks or not. Choosing direct deposit can also speed up the refund procedure.
Reduced chance of mistakes: According to the IRS, there’s around a 1% error rate on e-filed returns, compared with a 20% rate of mistakes on paper filings. The IRS also provides more information on issues discovered on e-filed returns compared with paper yields.
Simple payment process: If you owe the IRS money, it is easier to cover at your convenience when you e-file. You can submit returns early and pay afterwards if needed, as long as you pay by the April 15 filing deadline. And you’re able to schedule electronic funds 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. You also have the choice to pay your balance by using the IRS Direct 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 taxation 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 a digital backup.
The good news: Most taxpayers do decide to e-file and get those benefits — and the practice of doing so is easy.
The way to e-file a tax return?
- Utilize IRS Free File: If your adjusted gross income is $72,000 or less you could be able to use the IRS Free File program.
- Free File Fillable Types — If your income is over $72,000 and you are comfortable doing your earnings without assistance, you can use Free File Fillable Forms from the IRS. The types do the math for you and provide standard advice. You can only do your federal return with all these kinds.
- Use an online tax preparation tax or service applications: Tax prep software and online filing services are alternatives. These choices are a simple way to finish and e-file your forms. Some applications suppliers charge for their apps, Some are liberated. The program asks you simple questions about your own life and finances to guide you through the completion of your forms.
- Get complimentary, in-person tax aid: 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 cater to specific demographic groups.
- Hire a paid preparer: Paid tax preparers, including CPAs, can e-file yields for you if they’re authorized IRS e-file providers. The IRS maintains a database of authorized providers, but be aware this option is very likely to be the most costly one.
Employing online tax preparation software is far and away the preferred approach of the majority of taxpayers. Actually, the IRS says it anticipated more than four in five tax returns to be submitted through tax return prep software.
Is e-filing really secure?
While e-filing is convenient, you may worry about security — particularly with all these data breaches. But experts agree this isn’t an issue which should dissuade you from e-filing.
“E-filing a tax return has turned out to be an extremely secure way to file your taxes,” states Scott Grissom, vice president of product direction, marketing and revenue at LegalShield. “In fact, it may be more secure than paper filing as you’re sending your private information through an encrypted network rather than exposing your data in the email.”
Dennis Chow, vice president of information security at SCIS Security, clarifies the IRS has set security measures in place to keep your information safe. “Trainers normally use IRS specific APIs that need token sessions,” Chow says. “All this can be routed over TLS encrypted connections”
It’s very important to use a trustworthy service to assist you record your taxes. Chow advises not to e-file on a public computer or use an online connection which is not private.
For most taxpayers, it is sensible to e-file a return because it is the most convenient way to file your tax information to the IRS and it allows for timely refunds and easy payment options. Just make sure that you use tax planning software from a trusted source, so you may make certain the information you supply to transmit to the IRS is going to be kept protected.