Is e-filing really a better way to record your taxes?
Americans and the IRS may not agree about everything, but they are largely on 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.
When you e-file your federal income tax return, you conserve the IRS cash because its workers don’t need to spend time manually processing your return. And in return, you could get any refund you’re owed quicker, particularly if you have it directly deposited to your bank account.
But what about security? And can digital filing actually give you access to all of the forms that you may need if you have a complex tax situation? Are there situations when you can’t e-file? Let us look at the advantages of e-filing, and whether it may be the best filing option for your requirements.
If you are thinking about e-filing, some of the advantages include:
- Quick confirmation your forms have been 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 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’ll receive your money in 3 weeks or less. Choosing direct deposit can also speed up the refund process.
Reduced likelihood of mistakes: According to 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 information on problems discovered on e-filed yields compared with paper returns.
Simple payment process: If you owe the IRS money, it is easier to cover at your convenience if you e-file. You can submit returns early and pay later 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 Direct pay service from your checking account or savings accounts, submitting a credit card through a payment processor for a commission, or paying by check or money order. Just be aware delaying payment following the filing due date (typically April 15) can lead to interest and penalties.
Digital storage of tax data: Submitting returns electronically means there is an electronic copy of your tax records. So if something happens to your paperwork, you will have an electronic backup.
The good news: Most taxpayers do opt to e-file and find those benefits — and the process of doing this is simple.
You have four choices for submitting an electronically filed tax return to the IRS.
- Use 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’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 offer standard advice. You can only do your federal return with these kinds.
- Use an internet tax preparation tax or service applications: Tax preparation software and online filing services are options. These options are a simple way to complete and e-file your forms. Some applications suppliers charge for their apps, Some are free. The software asks you simple questions about your life and financing to guide you through the completion of your types.
- Get complimentary, in-person tax aid: In most states, you can find volunteers to help prepare and e-file returns. However, eligibility for free help is typically limited based on earnings, and some providers appeal to specific demographic groups. By way of instance, Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs focus primarily on assisting filers who are 60 and older.
- Hire a paid preparer: Paid tax preparers, including CPAs, can e-file yields for you if they’re authorized IRS e-file providers. The IRS maintains a database of licensed providers, but you should be aware this alternative is very likely to be the most costly one.
Employing online tax prep software is far and away the favored approach of the majority of taxpayers. In fact, the IRS says it anticipated more than four tax returns to be submitted through tax return prep program.
Is e-filing really stable?
While e-filing is convenient, you could be worried about security — particularly with so many data breaches. But experts agree this isn’t a problem which should dissuade you by e-filing.
“E-filing a tax return has proven to be an extremely secure way to file your taxes,” states Scott Grissom, vice president of product direction, marketing and revenue at LegalShield. “In actuality, it can be more secure than paper filing as you’re sending your personal information through an encrypted network as opposed to exposing your data in the email.”
Dennis Chow, vice president of data security at SCIS Security, clarifies the IRS has put security measures in place to keep your information safe. “Trainers normally use IRS particular APIs that require ab sessions,” Chow says. “All of this can be routed over TLS encrypted links .”
It’s very important to employ a trusted service to assist you file your taxes. Chow advises not to e-file on a public computer or use an internet connection that is not private.
For many taxpayers, it makes sense to e-file a yield because it is the most convenient way to submit your tax information to the IRS and it allows for timely refunds and easy payment choices. Just make sure that you use tax planning software from a trusted source, so that you can ensure the information which you supply to transmit to the IRS is going to be kept protected.