Is e-filing really a much better way to record your taxes?
Americans and the IRS may not agree on everything, but they are mostly on the exact same page in regards to e-filing individual income tax returns.
Nearly all individual income tax returns submitted to the IRS are e-filed.
When you e-file your federal income tax return, you save the IRS cash because its employees do not need to spend time manually processing your return. In return, you can get any refund you’re owed quicker, especially if you have it directly deposited into your bank account.
However, what about security? And can electronic filing really provide you access to all of the forms you may need if you have a complex tax situation? Are there 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’re Considering e-filing, a Few of the advantages include:
- Quick confirmation your forms have been received: The IRS will affirm a tax filing was received within 24 hours of digital submission. For paper filers, the IRS doesn’t send any acknowledgment that your forms have arrived .
Timely refunds: When you publish a paper filing, it can take six to eight months to be given a tax refund. With e-filing, you’ll receive your money in 3 weeks or less. Choosing direct deposit may also accelerate the refund procedure.
Reduced chance of mistakes: According to the IRS, there is approximately a 1 percent error rate on e-filed returns, compared with a 20% speed of mistakes on paper filings. The IRS also provides more info on issues discovered on e-filed returns compared with paper yields.
Easy payment procedure: If you owe the IRS money, it is simpler to cover at your convenience if you e-file. You can submit returns early and pay afterwards if necessary, provided that you pay from the April 15 filing deadline. Additionally you have the choice to pay your balance by making use of the IRS Immediate 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. 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, then you will have a digital backup.
The good news: Most taxpayers do decide to e-file and find those benefits — and the practice of doing so is simple.
How to e-file a tax return?
You have four options for filing an electronically filed tax return to the IRS.
- Use IRS Free File: If your adjusted gross income is $72,000 or not as you could be able to use the IRS Free File program. The types do the math for you and offer basic guidance. You can only do your federal return with these forms.
- Utilize an internet tax preparation tax or service 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 software providers charge for their programs, Some are liberated. The software asks you simple questions about your life and finances to guide you through the completion of your forms.
- Get free, in-person tax help: In most states, you can find volunteers to help prepare and e-file returns. But eligibility for free aid is typically limited based on earnings, and some services cater to specific demographic groups. By way of instance, Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs focus primarily on helping filers who are 60 and older.
- Hire a paid preparer: Paid tax preparers, such as CPAs, can e-file yields for you if they are authorized 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.
Employing online tax prep software is far and away the preferred approach of the majority of taxpayers. Actually, the IRS says it expected over four in five tax returns to be filed through tax return prep program.
Is e-filing really secure?
While e-filing is suitable, you may 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 proven to be a very secure way to file your taxes,” says Scott Grissom, vice president of product leadership, advertising and sales at LegalShield. “In fact, it may be more secure than paper filing since you’re sending your personal 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 safety measures in place to keep your data safe. “Trainers normally use IRS specific APIs that require ab sessions,” Chow says. “All this is routed over TLS encrypted links .”
It’s important to use a trustworthy service that will help you record your taxes. Chow advises not to e-file on a computer or use an internet connection that is not confidential.
For many taxpayers, it is sensible to e-file a return because 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 certain that you use tax preparation software from a dependable source, so that you can ensure the information which you supply to transmit to the IRS will be kept secure.