How Safe Is An Online Tax Return?
Filing tax returns online - called e-filing - is quick, safe and simple. On the other hand, paper filing is cheaper, and covers certain cases that do not allow for e-filing, such as married people filing separately. E-filing is done through tax software, which is easily available and quite affordable. The most blatant benefit you get from e-file is that you avoid the risk of human error. A small calculation error in one place, a set of numbers copied into the wrong box, and you have to start from scratch. Overall, the small sum spent on tax software is well worth it, as it saves the twin headaches of miscalculation on your part, and typing mistakes introduced by the IRS when they retype your return. Incidentally, tax software can also be used to type out and prepare paper tax files. Although the chance of error during retyping still remains, this is useful for people whose returns are ineligible for e-filing. Even though the Internet has made its way into all of our lives, a lot of people still hesitate before doing anything involving money on the Web. The bogey-man of online fraud still haunts us. However, the truth is that less than one in ten thousand online transactions end up being fraudulent. Moreover, you do not run the risk of having an important identification number typed wrong, and having your identity most unintentionally confused with someone else's. Online facilities use the latest and best in encryption and security services to store personal data. This means that all the information you supply through the Internet - your tax ID, phone number, credit card number for payments and SSN - all remain locked away from any prospective identity thieves. The credit card number, in fact, is not stored by the IRS' website. While a paper document can get lost in the mail or delayed, a tax return sent through e-file reaches the recipient instantly, and you get a notification within minutes, if not seconds. This single detail is a huge point in favor of the online tax return - even without counting the IRS refunds that arrive in days rather than weeks. Also, a rejected e-file returns to you immediately with suggestions on how to correct it, making it much easier for you to correct on your own. However, there are times when e-filing a tax return is unadvisable or impossible. E-files support only the most generic types of tax returns, excluding the most complex or exceptional cases. For example, married people filing separately must do so on paper, as must people participating in multiple support agreements. Also, e-filing is permissible only between January 15 and October 15 of the year. Except for these exceptional cases, the benefits of e-filing far outweigh the small cost of any tax preparation tools. The speed, efficiency and minimum-effort nature of this process has made it a favorite with individuals who file their taxes on their own as well as with tax professionals as they sit in their own offices.