Warren Buffett Donation Gates Foundation – What to Consider When Filing My Taxes Online

Is e-filing really a much better way to file your taxes? 

Americans and the IRS might not agree about everything, but they’re largely on precisely the 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 a favorite because it’s a win-win for taxpayers and the IRS.

If you e-file your federal income tax return, you save the IRS cash because its employees don’t need to spend time manually processing your return. And in return, you could get any refund you’re owed faster, particularly in the event that you have it directly deposited into your bank account.

However, what about security?  And can electronic filing really provide you access to all the forms that you may need in case you’ve got a complex tax situation?  Are there ever situations when you can’t e-file?  Let’s look at the advantages of e-filing, and if it might be the best filing option for your needs.

If you are Considering e-filing, some of the advantages include:

  1. Quick confirmation your forms have been obtained: The IRS will confirm a tax filing has been received within 24 hours of digital submission.  For paper filers, the IRS does not send any acknowledgment that 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’ll receive your money in three weeks or not.  Choosing direct deposit can also speed up the refund procedure.

  2. Reduced likelihood of mistakes: In accordance with the IRS, there’s around a 1 percent error rate on e-filed yields, compared with a 20% rate of errors on paper filings.  The IRS also provides more information on problems discovered on e-filed yields compared with paper returns.

  3. Simple payment procedure: If you owe the IRS money, it is simpler to pay at your advantage if you e-file.  You can submit returns early and pay afterwards if needed, as long as you pay by the April 15 filing deadline.  You also have the option to pay your balance by making use of the IRS Direct pay service from the checking account or savings account, submitting a credit card through a payment processor for a fee, or paying by check or money order. 

  4. Digital storage of tax data: Submitting returns electronically means there’s an electronic backup of your tax documents.  If something happens to your paperwork, then you’ll have an electronic backup.

The good news: Most taxpayers do opt to e-file and find those benefits — and the practice of doing this is easy.

  • Free File Fillable Forms — If your income is over $72,000 and you are comfortable doing your earnings without help, you can use Free File Fillable Forms from the IRS. The types do the math for you and offer standard guidance.  You can only do your federal return with all these kinds. 
  • Utilize an internet tax preparation tax or service applications: Tax preparation software and online filing services are options.  These options 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 life and finances to guide you through the completion of your forms.  
  • Get free, in-person tax aid: In most states, you will find volunteers to help prepare and e-file returns.  However, eligibility for free aid is normally restricted based on income, and a few providers cater to specific demographic groups.  For instance, Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs focus primarily on assisting filers that are 60 and older.  The IRS maintains a database of authorized providers, but you should be aware this option is very likely to be the most costly one. 

    Employing online tax prep software is far and away the preferred approach of most taxpayers.  Actually, the IRS says it expected more than four in five tax returns to be filed through tax return prep program.

    Is e-filing really secure?

    While e-filing is suitable, you could be worried about safety — especially with so many data breaches.  But experts agree that this isn’t an issue that should deter you from e-filing.

    “E-filing a tax return has proven to be a very secure way to file your taxes,” says Scott Grissom, vice president of product direction, marketing and sales at LegalShield. “In fact, it may be more secure than paper filing since you’re sending your personal information through an encrypted network as opposed to exposing your data in the email.”

    Dennis Chow, vice president of information security at SCIS Security, clarifies the IRS has put security measures in place to keep your information safe.  “Trainers normally use IRS specific APIs that need ab sessions,” Chow says.  “All of this is routed over TLS encrypted connections”

    It’s very important to use a trusted service that will assist you record your taxes.  Chow advises not to e-file on a public computer or use an internet connection that isn’t private.

    Bottom line

    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 effortless payment choices.  Just make certain that you use tax planning software from a trusted source, so you can ensure the information you supply to transmit to the IRS will be kept protected.