Is e-filing really a better way to file your taxes?
Americans and the IRS might not agree about everything, but they are mostly on the exact same page when it comes to e-filing individual income tax returns.
The majority of individual income tax returns filed to the IRS are e-filed. E-filing is a favorite as 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 employees do not need to spend time manually processing your return. In return, you can get any refund you’re owed faster, particularly if you have it directly deposited to your bank account.
However, what about security? And can electronic filing actually give you access to all the forms you might need if you have 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 choice for your requirements.
If you are Considering e-filing, a Few of the advantages include:
- Quick confirmation your forms have been obtained: The IRS will confirm a tax filing was received within one day of digital submission. For paper filers, the IRS doesn’t send any acknowledgment your forms have arrived .
Timely refunds: When you publish a paper filing, it may take six to eight weeks to receive a tax refund. With e-filing, you’ll get your money in 3 weeks or less. Choosing direct deposit may also accelerate the refund procedure.
Reduced chance of errors: In accordance with the IRS, there is around a 1% error rate on e-filed yields, compared with a 20% rate of errors on paper filings. The IRS also provides more info on issues discovered on e-filed returns compared with paper returns.
Simple payment process: If you owe the IRS money, it’s easier to pay at your convenience 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 choice to pay your balance by making use of the IRS Direct pay service from your checking account or savings accounts, submitting a credit card through a payment processor for a commission, or paying by check or money order.
Digital storage of tax data: Submitting returns electronically means there is an electronic backup of your tax documents. So if something happens to your paperwork, you’ll have an electronic backup.
The good news: Most taxpayers do opt to e-file and find those benefits — and the process of doing this is simple.
- Utilize IRS Free File: If your adjusted gross income is $72,000 or not as you could have the ability 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 forms.
- Utilize an online tax preparation service or tax software: Tax preparation software and online filing services are alternatives. These options are a simple way to complete and e-file your own forms. Some applications providers charge for their apps, Some are free. 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 can find volunteers to help prepare and e-file returns. But eligibility for free help is normally restricted based on income, and a few providers appeal to specific demographic groups. By way of example, Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs focus primarily on assisting filers that are 60 and older.
- Hire a paid preparer: Paid tax preparers, including CPAs, can e-file yields for you if they are licensed IRS e-file providers. The IRS maintains a database of authorized providers, but you should be aware this option is very likely to be the most costly one.
Using online tax preparation software is far and away the favored approach of the majority of taxpayers. Actually, 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 could worry about security — especially with all these data breaches. But experts agree that this is not an issue that should deter you by e-filing.
“E-filing a tax return has turned out to be an extremely secure way to file your taxes,” states Scott Grissom, vice president of product leadership, advertising and revenue at LegalShield. “In fact, it may be more secure than paper filing as you’re sending your private information through an encrypted network as opposed to exposing your data in the email.”
Dennis Chow, vice president of information security at SCIS Security, explains the IRS has put security measures in place to keep your data safe. “Vendors typically utilize IRS particular APIs that need token sessions,” Chow says. “All of this can be routed over TLS encrypted links .”
It is important to employ a trustworthy service that will assist you file your taxes. Chow advises to not e-file on a public computer or use an internet connection which isn’t confidential.
For most taxpayers, it makes sense to e-file a return since 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 sure to use tax planning software from a trusted source, so that you may ensure the information you supply to transmit to the IRS will be kept protected.