Is e-filing really a better way to file your taxes?
Americans and the IRS may not agree about everything, but they are largely on the exact 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 can get any refund you’re owed quicker, particularly in the event that you have it directly deposited into your bank accounts.
However, what about safety? And can electronic filing actually provide you access to all of the forms you might need if you have a complex tax situation? Are there situations when you can’t e-file? Let us look at the advantages of e-filing, and whether it might be the very best filing choice for your needs.
If you’re thinking about e-filing, a Few of the advantages include:
- Quick confirmation your forms are received: The IRS will affirm a tax filing was received within one day of digital 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 get your money in three weeks or less. Choosing direct deposit can also speed up the refund process.
Reduced chance of errors: According to the IRS, there is around a 1 percent error rate on e-filed returns, compared with a 20% speed of errors on paper filings. The IRS also provides more info on issues 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 advantage when you e-file. It’s possible to submit returns early and pay afterwards if needed, provided that you pay by the April 15 filing deadline. Additionally you have the choice to pay your balance by using the IRS Direct pay service from your checking account or savings accounts, submitting 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 result in penalties and interest.
Digital storage of tax information: Submitting returns electronically implies there’s an electronic backup of your tax records. So if something happens to your paperwork, then you’ll have a digital backup.
The fantastic news: Most taxpayers do opt to e-file and get those benefits — and the process of doing this is simple.
You have four choices for filing an electronically filed tax return to the IRS.
The forms do the math for you and offer standard guidance. You can simply do your federal return with these forms.
Employing online tax preparation software is far and away the favored approach of the majority of taxpayers. In fact, the IRS says it expected over four in five tax returns to be submitted through tax return prep software.
Is e-filing really secure?
While e-filing is suitable, you could worry about safety — especially with so many data breaches. But experts agree that this is not a problem that should dissuade you by e-filing.
“In actuality, it can be more secure than paper filing since you’re sending your personal information through an encrypted system as opposed to exposing your data in the mail.”
Dennis Chow, vice president of data security at SCIS Security, explains the IRS has put safety measures in place to keep your data safe. “Vendors typically utilize IRS specific APIs that need token sessions,” Chow says. “All this is routed over TLS encrypted connections.”
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 online connection that isn’t confidential.
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 to use tax planning software from a trusted source, so that you can ensure the information you supply to transmit to the IRS will be kept secure.