Is e-filing really a better way to record your taxes?
Americans and the IRS might not agree about everything, but they’re mostly on precisely the exact same page when it comes 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 find any refund you are owed faster, especially in the event that you have it directly deposited into your bank account.
But what about safety? And can electronic filing actually provide you access to all the forms you might need if you’ve got a complex tax situation? Are there ever situations when you can not e-file? Let us look at the advantages of e-filing, and if it might be the best filing choice for your requirements.
If you are thinking about e-filing, a Few of the advantages include:
- Quick confirmation 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 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’ll get your money in 3 weeks or less. Choosing direct deposit can also accelerate the refund procedure.
Reduced likelihood of mistakes: According to the IRS, there’s approximately 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 problems discovered on e-filed returns compared with paper yields.
Easy payment procedure: If you owe the IRS money, it is simpler to pay at your convenience when you e-file. You can submit returns early and pay later if necessary, provided that you pay by the April 15 filing deadline. And you’re able to schedule electronic money transfers to easily send the IRS what you owe on a date of your choosing — again, as long as the IRS receives your payment by Tax Day. You also have the option to pay your balance by making use of the IRS Direct pay service from your checking or savings account, submitting a credit card through a payment processor for a fee, or paying by check or money order.
Digital storage of tax data: Submitting returns electronically implies there’s a digital backup of your tax documents. So if something happens to your paperwork, you will have a digital backup.
The fantastic news: Most taxpayers do decide to e-file and get those advantages — and the process of doing so is easy.
You have four choices for submitting an electronically filed tax return to the IRS.
- Use IRS Free File: If your adjusted gross income is $72,000 or less you may be able to use the IRS Free File program. The types do the math for you and offer basic advice. You can only do your federal return with all these kinds.
- Use an internet tax preparation tax or service software: Tax preparation software and online filing services are alternatives. These choices are an easy way to finish and e-file your forms. Some applications providers charge for their programs, Some are free. The software asks you simple questions about your own life and financing to steer you through the completion of your forms.
- Get complimentary, in-person tax help: In most states, you will find volunteers to help prepare and e-file yields. But eligibility for free help is typically limited based on income, and some providers cater to particular demographic groups. By way of example, Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs focus primarily on helping filers that are 60 and older.
- Hire a paid preparer: Paid tax preparers, such as CPAs, can e-file yields for you if they’re authorized IRS e-file providers. The IRS maintains a record of licensed providers, but you should be aware this option is likely to be the most costly one.
Employing online tax preparation software is far and away the preferred approach of most taxpayers. In fact, the IRS says it expected more than four tax returns to be filed through tax return prep program.
Is e-filing really secure?
While e-filing is suitable, you could worry about safety — especially with so many data breaches. But experts agree this isn’t an issue which should deter you by 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, advertising and sales at LegalShield. “In fact, it can be more secure than paper filing as you’re sending your private information through an encrypted network rather than exposing your information in the mail.”
Dennis Chow, vice president of information security at SCIS Security, clarifies the IRS has put safety measures in place to keep your data secure. “Trainers normally use IRS particular APIs that require token sessions,” Chow says. “All of this is routed over TLS encrypted links .”
It’s very important to use a trustworthy service that will assist you file your taxes. Chow advises not to e-file on a public computer or use an online connection which isn’t confidential.
For most taxpayers, it is sensible to e-file a yield since it’s the most convenient way to file your tax information to the IRS and it allows for timely refunds and easy payment options. Just be certain to use tax preparation software from a dependable source, so that you can ensure the information which you supply to transmit to the IRS is going to be kept secure.