Is e-filing really a better way to file your taxes?
Americans and the IRS might not agree on everything, but they are largely on the same page in regards to e-filing individual income tax returns.
The majority of individual income tax returns filed to the IRS are e-filed.
When you e-file your federal income tax return, you save the IRS money because its employees don’t have to spend time manually processing your return. In return, you can get any refund you’re owed quicker, especially in the event that you have it directly deposited to your bank account.
However, what about security? And can digital filing really provide you access to all the forms that you might need if you have a complex tax situation? Are there situations when you can not e-file? Let us look at the advantages of e-filing, and whether it may be the very best filing choice for your needs.
If you’re thinking about e-filing, some of the advantages include:
- Quick confirmation your forms are obtained: The IRS will confirm a tax filing has been received within one day 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 months to receive a tax refund. With e-filing, you are going to receive your money in three weeks or less. Choosing direct deposit may also speed up the refund procedure.
Reduced chance of errors: According to the IRS, there is approximately a 1% error rate on e-filed returns, compared with a 20% speed of errors on paper filings. The IRS also provides more information on issues discovered on e-filed yields compared with paper yields.
Easy payment procedure: If you owe the IRS money, it’s easier to cover at your convenience when you e-file. You can submit returns early and pay afterwards if necessary, as long as you pay from the April 15 filing deadline. Additionally you have the option to pay your balance by making use of the IRS Immediate pay service from your checking account or savings account, filing a credit card through a payment processor for a commission, or paying by check or money order. Just be aware delaying payment following the filing due date (typically April 15) can result in interest and penalties.
Digital storage of tax information: Submitting returns electronically means there’s a digital backup of your tax documents. If something happens to your paperwork, you will have a digital backup.
The good news: Most taxpayers do decide to e-file and find those advantages — and the practice of doing so is simple.
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 not as you may have the ability to use the IRS Free File program. The types do the math for you and provide standard guidance. You can only do your federal return with these kinds.
- Use an online tax preparation service or tax software: Tax preparation software and online filing services are alternatives. These choices are a simple way to complete and e-file your forms. Some applications suppliers charge for their programs, Some are free. The software asks you simple questions about your life and financing to guide you through the completion of your types.
- Get free, in-person tax help: In most states, you will find volunteers to help prepare and e-file yields. But eligibility for free aid is normally restricted based on income, and some providers appeal to particular demographic groups.
- Hire a paid preparer: Paid tax preparers, including CPAs, can e-file yields for you if they’re licensed IRS e-file providers. The IRS maintains a database of licensed providers, but you should be aware this option is very likely to be the most costly one.
Employing online tax preparation software is far and away the favored approach of most 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 stable?
While e-filing is convenient, you may worry about security — particularly with so many data breaches. But experts agree this isn’t an issue which should dissuade you by e-filing.
“In actuality, it may be more secure than paper filing as you’re sending your private information through an encrypted system as opposed to exposing your information in the mail.”
Dennis Chow, vice president of information security at SCIS Security, clarifies the IRS has set safety measures in place to keep your data secure. “Vendors typically utilize IRS particular APIs that need ab sessions,” Chow says. “All this is routed over TLS encrypted links .”
It’s important to employ a trustworthy service to help you record your taxes. Chow advises not to e-file on a public computer or use an internet connection which isn’t private.
For many taxpayers, it makes sense to e-file a return 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 sure to use tax preparation software from a dependable source, so that you can make certain the information which you provide to transmit to the IRS is going to be kept protected.