Is e-filing really a much better way to file your taxes?
Americans and the IRS might not agree on everything, but they’re mostly on the exact same page when it comes to e-filing individual income tax returns.
Nearly all individual income tax returns filed to the IRS are e-filed. E-filing is popular because it is a win-win for taxpayers and the IRS.
In return, you can get any refund you’re owed faster, especially if you have it directly deposited into 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 have a complex tax situation? Are there ever situations when you can’t e-file? Let us look at the advantages of e-filing, and if it might be the very best filing option for your needs.
If you are Considering e-filing, some of the advantages include:
- Quick affirmation your forms are obtained: The IRS will confirm a tax filing was received within 24 hours of digital submission. For paper filers, the IRS does not send any acknowledgment that your forms have arrived .
Timely refunds: When you submit a paper filing, it may take six to eight months to receive a tax refund. With e-filing, you’ll receive your money in 3 weeks or not. Choosing direct deposit can also accelerate the refund procedure.
Reduced likelihood of mistakes: According to the IRS, there is around a 1 percent error rate on e-filed returns, compared with a 20% rate of errors on paper filings. The IRS also provides more info on issues discovered on e-filed yields compared with paper yields.
Simple payment procedure: If you owe the IRS money, it’s simpler to cover at your convenience if you e-file. It’s possible to submit returns early and pay afterwards if needed, provided that you pay from the April 15 filing deadline. Additionally you have the option to pay your balance by using the IRS Direct pay service from the checking account or savings account, 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) will result in penalties and interest.
Digital storage of tax data: Submitting returns electronically means there is a digital backup of your tax records. So if something happens to your paperwork, then you will have an electronic backup.
The good news: Most taxpayers do decide to e-file and get those advantages — and the practice of doing so is easy.
How to e-file a tax return?
You have four options for filing an electronically filed tax return to the IRS.
Using online tax preparation software is far and away the preferred approach of the majority of taxpayers. In fact, the IRS says it anticipated over four in five tax returns to be submitted through tax return prep program.
Is e-filing really secure?
While e-filing is suitable, you may worry about safety — particularly with so many data breaches. But experts agree that this isn’t an issue that should deter you from e-filing.
“In actuality, it may be more secure than paper filing as you’re sending your private information through an encrypted network as opposed to exposing your information in the mail.”
Dennis Chow, vice president of data security at SCIS Security, clarifies the IRS has set safety measures in place to keep your data secure. “Trainers normally use IRS particular APIs that need token sessions,” Chow says. “All this can be routed over TLS encrypted connections”
It’s important to use a trusted service to assist you file your taxes. Chow advises not to e-file on a computer or utilize an online connection that is not private.
For most taxpayers, it is sensible to e-file a return because it’s the most convenient way to submit your tax information to the IRS and it allows for timely refunds and easy payment choices. Just make sure that you use tax planning software from a dependable source, so you may make certain the information you provide to transmit to the IRS is going to be kept secure.