Is e-filing really a better way to file your taxes?
Americans and the IRS may not agree on 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 a favorite because it is a win-win for taxpayers and the IRS.
When you e-file your federal income tax return, you save the IRS money because its workers don’t need to spend time manually processing your return. In return, you could find any refund you’re owed faster, particularly if you have it directly deposited into your bank accounts.
But what about safety? And can electronic filing actually provide you access to all of the forms that you may need in case you have a intricate tax situation? Are there ever situations when you can not e-file? Let us look at the benefits of e-filing, and whether it may be the best filing option for your needs.
If you are Considering e-filing, some of the advantages include:
- Quick affirmation your forms have been received: The IRS will confirm a tax filing has been received within one day 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 weeks to receive a tax refund. With e-filing, you’ll get your money in three weeks or less. Choosing direct deposit may also accelerate the refund process.
Reduced chance of errors: According to the IRS, there’s 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 information on problems discovered on e-filed returns compared with paper yields.
Easy payment procedure: If you owe the IRS money, it’s simpler to pay at your convenience if you e-file. You can submit returns early and pay later if necessary, as long as you pay from the April 15 filing deadline. And you can 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. Additionally you have the choice to pay your balance by using the IRS Direct pay service from your checking 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) can result in penalties and interest.
Digital storage of tax information: Submitting returns electronically means there’s a digital backup of your tax records. If something happens to your paperwork, you’ll have an electronic backup.
The good news: Most taxpayers do decide to e-file and get those benefits — and the practice of doing this is simple.
How to e-file a tax return?
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 be able to use the IRS Free File program. The forms do the math for you and offer standard advice. You can simply do your federal return with these forms.
- Use an online tax preparation service or tax software: Tax prep software and online filing services are options. These options are a simple way to complete and e-file your own forms. Some applications providers 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 complimentary, in-person tax aid: In most states, you can find volunteers to help prepare and e-file yields. However, eligibility for free help is typically limited based on income, and some providers cater to particular demographic groups.
- 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 alternative is very likely to be the most costly one.
Employing online tax preparation software is far and away the preferred approach of the majority of taxpayers. In fact, the IRS says it anticipated more than four in five tax returns to be filed through tax return prep program.
Is e-filing really secure?
While e-filing is convenient, you could worry about security — especially with so many data breaches. But experts agree this is not an issue which should deter you by e-filing.
“In fact, it can be more secure than paper filing as you’re sending your private information through an encrypted system rather than exposing your data in the mail.”
Dennis Chow, vice president of data security at SCIS Security, explains that the IRS has set security measures in place to keep your information secure. “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 that will help you file your taxes. Chow advises not to e-file on a computer or utilize an internet connection which isn’t private.
For many taxpayers, it makes sense to e-file a yield since it is the most convenient way to file your tax information to the IRS and it allows for timely refunds and effortless payment choices. Just be sure that you use tax planning software from a trusted source, so you may ensure the information which you supply to transmit to the IRS will be kept secure.