Is e-filing really a better way to file your taxes?
Americans and the IRS may not agree on everything, but they’re largely on the exact 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.
In return, you could find any refund you are owed faster, especially if you have it directly deposited to your bank account.
However, what about safety? And can electronic filing really provide you access to all the forms you may need in case you’ve got a complex tax situation? Are there situations when you can not e-file? Let’s look at the benefits of e-filing, and if it may be the best filing option for your requirements.
If you are thinking about e-filing, some of the advantages include:
- Quick affirmation your forms are received: The IRS will affirm a tax filing has been received within one day of electronic submission. For paper filers, the IRS does not send any acknowledgment that your forms have arrived safely.
Timely refunds: When you publish a paper filing, it can take six to eight weeks to be given a tax refund. With e-filing, you are going to receive your money in 3 weeks or not. Choosing direct deposit may also accelerate the refund procedure.
Reduced likelihood of errors: In accordance with 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 process: If you owe the IRS money, it is easier to cover at your advantage when you e-file. It’s possible to submit returns early and pay later if necessary, provided that you pay by the April 15 filing deadline. Additionally you have the choice to pay your balance by using 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. Just be aware delaying payment after the filing due date (typically April 15) can lead to penalties and interest.
Digital storage of taxation information: Submitting returns electronically means there’s a digital backup of your tax documents. If something happens to your paperwork, then 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 this is simple.
How to e-file a tax return?
- Utilize IRS Free File: If your adjusted gross income is $72,000 or less you may be able to use the IRS Free File program.
- Free File Fillable Types — If your income is more than $72,000 and you are comfortable doing your taxes without assistance, you can use Free File Fillable Forms from the IRS. The types do the math for you and provide basic advice. You can simply do your federal return with all these kinds.
- Use an online tax preparation tax or service software: Tax preparation software and online filing services are options. These choices are an easy way to finish and e-file your forms. Some software providers charge for their apps, Some are free. The program asks you simple questions about your life and financing 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. But eligibility for free aid is normally restricted based on income, and some services cater to particular demographic groups. For example, Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs focus primarily on helping 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 favored approach of most taxpayers. In fact, 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 convenient, you may worry about safety — especially with so many data breaches. But experts agree 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 actuality, it may be more secure than paper filing as you’re sending your private information through an encrypted system rather than exposing your information in the mail.”
Dennis Chow, vice president of data security at SCIS Security, explains the IRS has put safety measures in place to keep your information safe. “Vendors typically utilize IRS specific APIs that require token sessions,” Chow says. “All of this is routed over TLS encrypted links .”
It is very important to employ 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 which isn’t private.
For many taxpayers, it is sensible to e-file a return since it is 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 you can make certain the information which you provide to transmit to the IRS will be kept secure.