Is e-filing really a better way to file your taxes?
Americans and the IRS may not agree about everything, but they are mostly on precisely the same page when it comes to e-filing individual income tax returns.
Nearly all individual income tax returns filed to the IRS are e-filed. E-filing is popular because it’s a win-win for taxpayers and the IRS.
When you e-file your federal income tax return, you save the IRS cash because its workers do not need to spend time manually processing your return. In return, you could get any refund you are owed quicker, particularly if you have it directly deposited into your bank account.
But what about security? And can digital filing really give you access to all of the forms that you may need if you’ve got a complex tax situation? Are there situations when you can’t e-file? Let’s look at the advantages of e-filing, and whether it may be the best filing option for your requirements.
If you are Considering e-filing, a Few of the advantages include:
- Quick affirmation your forms have been obtained: The IRS will affirm a tax filing was received within 24 hours of electronic submission. For paper filers, the IRS doesn’t 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 can also accelerate the refund procedure.
Reduced likelihood of mistakes: According to the IRS, there is around a 1% error rate on e-filed returns, compared with a 20% rate of errors on paper filings. The IRS also provides more information on issues discovered on e-filed yields compared with paper yields.
Easy payment procedure: If you owe the IRS money, it’s easier to cover at your convenience if you e-file. It’s possible to submit returns early and pay later if needed, as long as you pay by the April 15 filing deadline. You also have the option to pay your balance by using the IRS Immediate pay service from the checking 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 following the filing due date (typically April 15) can result in interest and penalties.
Digital storage of tax data: Submitting returns electronically means there’s a digital backup of your tax documents. If something happens to your paperwork, then you will have an electronic backup.
The good news: Most taxpayers do opt to e-file and get those advantages — and the process of doing so is easy.
You have four options for filing an electronically filed tax return to the IRS.
- Utilize IRS Free File: If your adjusted gross income is $72,000 or not as you could be able to use the IRS Free File program.
- Free File Fillable Types — If your income is more than $72,000 and you are comfortable doing your taxes without assistance, you can use Free File Fillable Forms from the IRS. The types do the math for you and provide basic advice. You can only do your federal return with all these forms.
- Use an online tax preparation tax or service applications: Tax prep software and online filing services are options. These choices are an easy way to complete and e-file your own forms. Some applications providers charge for their programs, Some are liberated. The program asks you simple questions about your own life and financing to steer 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 yields. But eligibility for free help is typically limited based on income, and a few providers appeal to specific demographic groups. The IRS maintains a record of authorized providers, but you should be aware this option is very likely to be the most costly one.
Using online tax preparation software is far and away the favored approach of most taxpayers. In fact, the IRS says it anticipated more than four in five tax returns to be filed through tax return prep program.
Is e-filing really secure?
While e-filing is convenient, you may worry about security — particularly with all these data breaches. But experts agree this is not an issue that should dissuade you by e-filing.
“E-filing a tax return has proven to be an extremely secure way to file your taxes,” says Scott Grissom, vice president of product direction, marketing and revenue at LegalShield. “In fact, it may be more secure than paper filing as you’re sending your private information through an encrypted system as opposed to exposing your information in the mail.”
Dennis Chow, vice president of information security at SCIS Security, clarifies that the IRS has set security measures in place to keep your data safe. “Trainers normally use IRS specific APIs that require token sessions,” Chow says. “All this can be routed over TLS encrypted links .”
It is very important to use a trustworthy service that will help you file your taxes. Chow advises to not e-file on a public computer or use an internet connection that isn’t confidential.
For many taxpayers, it is sensible to e-file a return because it is 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 to use tax preparation software from a dependable source, so you can make certain the information you supply to transmit to the IRS will be kept secure.