Is e-filing really a better way to file your taxes?
Americans and the IRS might not agree on everything, but they’re mostly on the same page when it comes to e-filing individual income tax returns.
The majority of individual income tax returns filed to the IRS are e-filed.
In return, you can get any refund you are owed faster, especially in the event that you have it directly deposited into your bank account.
However, what about safety? And can digital filing actually give you access to all the forms that you may need if you’ve got a complex tax situation? Are there ever situations when you can not e-file? Let us look at the advantages of e-filing, and whether it might be the very best filing choice for your requirements.
If you are Considering e-filing, some of the advantages include:
- Quick confirmation your forms are obtained: The IRS will affirm a tax filing was received within one day of digital submission. For paper filers, the IRS does not send any acknowledgment that your forms have arrived safely.
Timely refunds: When you submit a paper filing, it can take six to eight weeks to receive a tax refund. With e-filing, you are going to get your money in three weeks or not. Choosing direct deposit can also accelerate the refund procedure.
Reduced likelihood of mistakes: In accordance with the IRS, there’s around a 1% error rate on e-filed returns, compared with a 20% speed of mistakes on paper filings. The IRS also provides more information on problems discovered on e-filed returns compared with paper returns.
Simple payment procedure: If you owe the IRS money, it is easier to pay at your convenience when you e-file. You can submit returns early and pay later if needed, provided that you pay by the April 15 filing deadline. Additionally you have the option to pay your balance by using the IRS Immediate 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 after the filing due date (typically April 15) can lead to penalties and interest.
Digital storage of tax information: Submitting returns electronically implies there is an electronic backup of your tax documents. So if something happens to your paperwork, then you’ll have a digital backup.
The good news: Most taxpayers do decide to e-file and get those advantages — and the process of doing this is easy.
- Utilize 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 Forms — If your income is over $72,000 and you’re comfortable doing your earnings without help, you can use Free File Fillable Forms from the IRS. The forms do the math for you and provide standard guidance. You can only do your federal return with these forms.
- Utilize an internet tax preparation service or tax software: Tax preparation software and online filing services are alternatives. These options are a simple way to complete and e-file your forms. Some applications providers charge for their apps, Some are free. 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 aid: In most states, you can find volunteers to help prepare and e-file returns. But eligibility for free aid is normally restricted based on income, and a few providers cater to particular demographic groups. By way of instance, Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs focus primarily on assisting filers that are 60 and older.
- Hire a paid preparer: Paid tax preparers, such as CPAs, can e-file returns for you if they are authorized IRS e-file providers. The IRS maintains a record of authorized providers, but be aware this alternative is very likely to be the most costly one.
Employing online tax prep software is far and away the preferred approach of most taxpayers. In fact, 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 could worry about security — particularly with so many data breaches. But experts agree this isn’t a problem that should deter you by e-filing.
“In actuality, it may be more secure than paper filing since you’re sending your personal information through an encrypted system as opposed to exposing your data in the email.”
Dennis Chow, vice president of information security at SCIS Security, clarifies the IRS has set safety measures in place to keep your data safe. “Trainers normally use IRS specific APIs that need token sessions,” Chow says. “All this can be routed over TLS encrypted links “
It is very important to use a trusted service to assist you record your taxes. Chow advises not to e-file on a public computer or utilize an online connection that is not confidential.
For many taxpayers, it is sensible to e-file a yield because it is the most convenient way to file 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 that you may ensure the information you supply to transmit to the IRS will be kept protected.