Is e-filing a better way to record your taxes?
Americans and the IRS may not agree about everything, but they are largely on the exact 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.
And in return, you can find any refund you are owed faster, particularly if you have it directly deposited into your bank account.
However, what about security? And can electronic filing really give you access to all the forms you might need if you’ve got a complex tax situation? Are there ever situations when you can’t e-file? Let us look at the benefits of e-filing, and if it may be the very best filing option for your requirements.
If you are thinking about e-filing, some of the advantages include:
- Quick confirmation your forms are received: The IRS will affirm a tax filing has been received within 24 hours of digital submission. For paper filers, the IRS does not send any acknowledgment your forms have arrived safely.
Timely refunds: When you submit a paper filing, it may take six to eight months to receive a tax refund. With e-filing, you’ll get your money in three weeks or not. Choosing direct deposit may also speed up the refund procedure.
Reduced likelihood of errors: In accordance with the IRS, there’s approximately a 1 percent error rate on e-filed yields, compared with a 20% rate of errors on paper filings. The IRS also provides more information on issues discovered on e-filed returns compared with paper returns.
Easy payment procedure: 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 afterwards if needed, provided that you pay from 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 account, submitting a credit card through a payment processor for a commission, 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 copy of your tax records. So if something happens to your paperwork, you’ll have a digital backup.
The fantastic news: Most taxpayers do decide to e-file and find those benefits — and the process of doing so is simple.
You have four options for filing an electronically filed tax return to the IRS.
Employing online tax preparation software is far and away the preferred approach of most taxpayers. In fact, the IRS says it anticipated over four in five tax returns to be filed through tax return prep software.
Is e-filing really secure?
While e-filing is suitable, you could worry about safety — particularly with all these data breaches. But experts agree this is not a problem that should dissuade you from e-filing.
“E-filing a tax return has turned out to be an extremely secure way to file your taxes,” states Scott Grissom, vice president of product direction, marketing and sales at LegalShield. “In fact, it can be more secure than paper filing as you’re sending your private information through an encrypted system rather than exposing your data in the mail.”
Dennis Chow, vice president of information security at SCIS Security, clarifies the IRS has put safety measures in place to keep your information safe. “Trainers normally use IRS specific APIs that need token sessions,” Chow says. “All this is routed over TLS encrypted links .”
It’s very important to employ a trustworthy service to 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 since it’s the most convenient way to submit your tax information to the IRS and it allows for timely refunds and easy payment options. Just make sure that you use tax preparation software from a trusted source, so you can make certain the information which you supply to transmit to the IRS will be kept secure.