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 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’re owed faster, particularly in the event that you have it directly deposited into your bank account.
However, what about security? And can digital filing actually give you access to all of the forms that you might need if you have a intricate 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 very best filing option for your needs.
If you are thinking about e-filing, a Few of the advantages include:
- Quick affirmation your forms have been obtained: The IRS will confirm a tax filing was received within one day of electronic 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 receive your money in three weeks or less. Choosing direct deposit can also accelerate the refund procedure.
Reduced chance of mistakes: According to the IRS, there is approximately a 1 percent error rate on e-filed yields, compared with a 20% speed of mistakes on paper filings. The IRS also provides more info on issues discovered on e-filed yields compared with paper yields.
Simple 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 afterwards if needed, provided that you pay from the April 15 filing deadline. And you can schedule electronic funds transfers to send the IRS what you owe on a date of your choosing — again, provided that the IRS receives your payment by Tax Day. Additionally you have the option to pay your balance by using the IRS Direct pay service from the checking account or savings accounts, 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 is an electronic copy of your tax records. So if something happens to your paperwork, then you’ll have a digital backup.
The good news: Most taxpayers do opt to e-file and get those advantages — and the practice of doing so is easy.
You have four options for submitting an electronically filed tax return to the IRS.
- Utilize 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 provide standard guidance. You can only do your federal return with all these forms.
- Use an internet tax preparation tax or service applications: Tax preparation software and online filing services are options. These choices are a simple way to finish 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 steer 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 yields. However, eligibility for free aid is typically limited based on income, and some providers appeal to particular demographic groups. By way of example, Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs focus primarily on assisting filers who are 60 and older. The IRS maintains a record of authorized providers, but be aware this alternative is very likely to be the most costly one.
Using online tax prep software is far and away the preferred approach of the majority of taxpayers. Actually, the IRS says it expected more than four in five tax returns to be filed through tax return prep software.
Is e-filing really secure?
While e-filing is convenient, you could worry about safety — especially with so many data breaches. But experts agree this is not an issue that should deter you from e-filing.
“E-filing a tax return has proven to be an extremely secure way to file your taxes,” says Scott Grissom, vice president of product leadership, marketing and sales at LegalShield. “In actuality, it can be more secure than paper filing since you’re sending your private information through an encrypted system as opposed to exposing your information in the email.”
Dennis Chow, vice president of information security at SCIS Security, clarifies that the IRS has put security measures in place to keep your information safe. “Vendors typically utilize IRS specific APIs that require token sessions,” Chow says. “All this is routed over TLS encrypted connections.”
It is very important to employ a trustworthy service to assist you record your taxes. Chow advises not to e-file on a public computer or use an online connection which isn’t private.
For many taxpayers, it makes sense to e-file a return because it’s the most convenient way to submit your tax information to the IRS and it allows for timely refunds and effortless payment options. Just make sure that you use tax planning software from a trusted source, so that you may make certain the information you supply to transmit to the IRS will be kept secure.