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 precisely the exact 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 as it is a win-win for taxpayers and the IRS.
If you e-file your federal income tax return, you save the IRS money because its employees do not have to spend time manually processing your return. In return, you could find any refund you’re owed faster, especially if you have it directly deposited into your bank account.
But what about safety? And can digital filing really provide you access to all of the forms you might need in case you’ve got 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 choice for your needs.
If you’re thinking about e-filing, some of the advantages include:
- Quick affirmation your forms are obtained: The IRS will confirm a tax filing was received within 24 hours of digital submission. For paper filers, the IRS does not send any acknowledgment your forms have arrived .
Timely refunds: When you submit a paper filing, it may take six to eight months to be given a tax refund. With e-filing, you are going to get your money in 3 weeks or not. Choosing direct deposit can also speed up the refund procedure.
Reduced likelihood of errors: In accordance with the IRS, there is around a 1% error rate on e-filed yields, compared with a 20% speed 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 cover 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 choice to pay your balance by using the IRS Immediate 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 following the filing due date (typically April 15) will lead to penalties and interest.
Digital storage of taxation information: Submitting returns electronically means there is an electronic backup of your tax documents. 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 benefits — and the process of doing this is easy.
How to e-file a tax return?
You have four choices for filing an electronically filed tax return to the IRS.
- Utilize IRS Free File: If your adjusted gross income is $72,000 or less you could have the ability to use the IRS Free File program.
- Free File Fillable Forms — If your income is more than $72,000 and you’re comfortable doing your taxes without assistance, you can use Free File Fillable Forms from the IRS. The forms do the math for you and provide standard advice. You can only do your federal return with all these forms.
- Utilize an internet tax preparation tax or service software: Tax prep software and online filing services are options. These choices are an easy way to finish and e-file your forms. Some applications suppliers charge for their apps, Some are liberated. The program asks you simple questions about your life and finances to steer you through the completion of your types.
- Get free, in-person tax help: In most states, you will find volunteers to help prepare and e-file yields. However, eligibility for free help is normally restricted based on income, and a few services cater to particular demographic groups. For instance, Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs focus primarily on helping filers who 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 licensed providers, but you should be aware this option is likely to be the most costly one.
Using online tax prep software is far and away the preferred approach of most taxpayers. Actually, the IRS says it expected over four tax returns to be filed through tax return prep software.
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 isn’t a problem that should deter you from 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, marketing and sales at LegalShield. “In actuality, it can 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 mail.”
Dennis Chow, vice president of data security at SCIS Security, clarifies the IRS has put security measures in place to keep your data safe. “Vendors typically utilize IRS particular APIs that require token sessions,” Chow says. “All this is routed over TLS encrypted links “
It is important to employ a trustworthy service that will help you file your taxes. Chow advises to not e-file on a public computer or utilize an internet connection which isn’t private.
For many taxpayers, it makes sense to e-file a yield because it’s the most convenient way to file your tax information to the IRS and it allows for timely refunds and effortless payment options. Just make certain to use tax preparation software from a dependable source, so you can make certain the information which you supply to transmit to the IRS is going to be kept protected.