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 precisely 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’s a win-win for taxpayers and the IRS.
When you e-file your federal income tax return, you conserve the IRS cash because its employees do not have to spend time manually processing your return. And in return, you can get any refund you’re 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 may need in case you have a complex tax situation? Are there situations when you can not e-file? Let’s look at the advantages of e-filing, and whether it may be the very best filing choice for your needs.
If you are Considering e-filing, a Few of the advantages include:
- Quick confirmation your forms are received: The IRS will affirm a tax filing was received within one day of digital submission. For paper filers, the IRS doesn’t send any acknowledgment that your forms have arrived safely.
Timely refunds: When you submit a paper filing, it can take six to eight months to receive a tax refund. With e-filing, you are going to get your money in three weeks or not. Choosing direct deposit may also speed up the refund procedure.
Reduced likelihood of errors: According to the IRS, there’s approximately a 1% error rate on e-filed returns, compared with a 20% rate of mistakes 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’s easier to cover at your advantage if you e-file. It’s possible to submit returns early and pay afterwards if necessary, as long as you pay from the April 15 filing deadline. And you’re able to schedule electronic money transfers to easily send the IRS what you owe on a date of your choosing — again, as long as the IRS receives your payment by Tax Day. Additionally you have the option to pay your balance by using the IRS Immediate pay service from the checking or savings account, filing a credit card through a payment processor for a commission, or paying by check or money order.
Digital storage of tax information: Submitting returns electronically means there’s a digital backup of your tax records. So if something happens to your paperwork, you’ll have an electronic backup.
The fantastic news: Most taxpayers do opt to e-file and find those advantages — and the practice 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. The types do the math for you and offer standard guidance. You can only do your federal return with all these forms.
- Utilize an online tax preparation service or tax software: Tax preparation software and online filing services are alternatives. These choices are a simple way to complete and e-file your own forms. Some software 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 forms.
- Get complimentary, in-person tax help: In most states, you will find volunteers to help prepare and e-file returns. But eligibility for free help is typically limited based on earnings, and a few providers cater to particular demographic groups. By way of example, 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 licensed IRS e-file providers. The IRS maintains a record of authorized providers, but you should be aware this option is very likely to be the most costly one.
Employing online tax preparation software is far and away the preferred approach of most taxpayers. Actually, the IRS says it expected more than four tax returns to be submitted through tax return prep program.
Is e-filing really secure?
While e-filing is convenient, you may be worried about safety — especially with all these data breaches. But experts agree this is not a problem which should dissuade you by e-filing.
“In fact, it may be more secure than paper filing as you’re sending your private information through an encrypted network rather than 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 data safe. “Vendors typically utilize IRS specific APIs that require token sessions,” Chow says. “All this is routed over TLS encrypted connections.”
It is very important to employ a trustworthy service that will help you file your taxes. Chow advises not to e-file on a public computer or use an online connection which isn’t confidential.
For most taxpayers, it is sensible to e-file a yield since it’s the most convenient way to file your tax information to the IRS and it allows for timely refunds and effortless payment choices. Just be certain that you use tax planning software from a trusted source, so you may ensure the information which you supply to transmit to the IRS is going to be kept secure.