Is e-filing really a much better way to record your taxes?
Americans and the IRS may not agree on everything, but they are largely on the same page in regards to e-filing individual income tax returns.
Nearly all individual income tax returns filed to the IRS are e-filed. E-filing is a favorite because it’s a win-win for taxpayers and the IRS.
In return, you can get any refund you are owed quicker, particularly if you have it directly deposited into your bank accounts.
However, what about safety? And can electronic filing really provide you access to all of the forms you might need if you’ve got a complex tax situation? Are there situations when you can’t e-file? Let’s look at the advantages of e-filing, and if it may be the best filing option for your requirements.
If you’re thinking about e-filing, some of the advantages include:
- Quick confirmation your forms have been obtained: The IRS will confirm a tax filing was received within 24 hours of electronic submission. For paper filers, the IRS doesn’t send any acknowledgment your forms have arrived .
Timely refunds: When you submit a paper filing, it can take six to eight months to receive a tax refund. With e-filing, you’ll receive your money in three weeks or less. Choosing direct deposit can also speed up the refund process.
Reduced likelihood of errors: According to the IRS, there is around a 1% error rate on e-filed returns, compared with a 20% rate of mistakes on paper filings. The IRS also provides more info on problems discovered on e-filed returns compared with paper returns.
Simple payment procedure: If you owe the IRS money, it’s easier to pay at your convenience when 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 option to pay your balance by using the IRS Direct pay service from the checking or savings account, submitting a credit card through a payment processor for a fee, or paying by check or money order.
Digital storage of taxation data: Submitting returns electronically implies there’s an electronic backup of your tax records. If something happens to your paperwork, then you will have an electronic backup.
The fantastic news: Most taxpayers do decide to e-file and find those benefits — and the process of doing this is simple.
The way to e-file a tax return?
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 less you may have the ability to use the IRS Free File program.
- Free File Fillable Types — If your income is over $72,000 and you are comfortable doing your earnings without any help, 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 forms.
- Utilize an online tax preparation service or tax applications: Tax preparation software and online filing services are alternatives. These choices are a simple way to finish and e-file your own forms. Some applications suppliers charge for their apps, Some are liberated. The program asks you simple questions about your life and finances to guide you through the completion of your types.
- Get free, in-person tax aid: In most states, you can find volunteers to help prepare and e-file returns. But eligibility for free aid is typically limited based on income, and some services cater to particular demographic groups.
- Hire a paid preparer: Paid tax preparers, such as CPAs, can e-file returns for you if they’re licensed IRS e-file providers. The IRS maintains a record of authorized providers, but you should be aware this option is likely to be the most costly one.
Using online tax preparation software is far and away the preferred approach of the majority of taxpayers. In fact, the IRS says it expected 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 may be worried about safety — particularly with so many data breaches. But experts agree that this is not a problem that should deter you from e-filing.
“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 data security at SCIS Security, clarifies the IRS has set safety measures in place to keep your information secure. “Trainers normally use IRS specific APIs that need token sessions,” Chow says. “All this is routed over TLS encrypted connections.”
It’s very important to use a trusted 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 most taxpayers, it makes sense to e-file a return since it is 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 dependable source, so you can make certain the information you provide to transmit to the IRS will be kept secure.