Is e-filing really a better way to record your taxes?
Americans and the IRS might not agree about everything, but they are mostly on precisely the 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 is a win-win for taxpayers and the IRS.
In return, you could get any refund you’re owed quicker, especially in the event that you have it directly deposited into your bank accounts.
However, what about safety? And can digital filing actually provide you access to all the forms that you might need in case you’ve got a complex tax situation? Are there situations when you can’t e-file? Let us look at the benefits of e-filing, and if it might be the very best filing option for your requirements.
If you’re thinking about e-filing, some of the advantages include:
- Quick confirmation your forms have been obtained: The IRS will confirm a tax filing was 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 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 not. Choosing direct deposit may also accelerate the refund process.
Reduced likelihood of errors: In accordance with the IRS, there’s around a 1% error rate on e-filed yields, 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 returns.
Easy payment process: If you owe the IRS money, it’s easier to pay at your advantage when you e-file. It’s possible to submit returns early and pay later if needed, provided that you pay by 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 accounts, filing a credit card through a payment processor for a commission, 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 data: Submitting returns electronically means there’s an electronic backup of your tax documents. So if something happens to your paperwork, you’ll have an electronic backup.
The good news: Most taxpayers do opt to e-file and get those advantages — and the process of doing this is easy.
You have four choices for filing 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 offer basic advice. You can only do your federal return with all these forms.
- Utilize an internet tax preparation service or tax applications: Tax prep software and online filing services are alternatives. These choices are an easy way to finish and e-file your forms. Some software suppliers charge for their apps, Some are free. The software asks you simple questions about your life and finances to guide you through the completion of your forms.
- Get complimentary, in-person tax aid: In most states, you can find volunteers to help prepare and e-file returns. However, eligibility for free help is normally restricted based on income, and some services appeal to particular demographic groups. By way of example, Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs focus primarily on helping filers who are 60 and older.
- Hire a paid preparer: Paid tax preparers, such as CPAs, can e-file yields for you if they are licensed IRS e-file providers. The IRS maintains a record of authorized providers, but you should be aware this option is likely to be the most costly one.
Using online tax prep software is far and away the preferred approach of the majority of taxpayers. In fact, 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 safety — particularly with so many 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,” says Scott Grissom, vice president of product leadership, marketing and sales at LegalShield. “In actuality, it may be more secure than paper filing since you’re sending your private information through an encrypted network rather than exposing your information in the email.”
Dennis Chow, vice president of data security at SCIS Security, clarifies the IRS has put security measures in place to keep your data safe. “Vendors typically utilize IRS particular APIs that require ab sessions,” Chow says. “All of this is routed over TLS encrypted links .”
It is very important to use a trustworthy service to help you record your taxes. Chow advises not to e-file on a public computer or utilize an internet connection that is not private.
For most taxpayers, it is sensible to e-file a return since 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 dependable source, so you can ensure the information which you supply to transmit to the IRS will be kept secure.