Filing your federal income taxes with a traditional paper return may still be possible. But it’s old school, not to mention time consuming, and you’ll be waiting for weeks to get your refund. E-filing is faster and more accurate, and it can provide much quicker access to your tax refund money than filing a paper return.
There are four key benefits to E-filing your return.
- Confirmation: The IRS will confirm a tax filing has been received within 24 hours of electronic submission. For paper filers, the IRS doesn’t send any acknowledgment that your forms have arrived safely.
- Accuracy: The IRS doesn’t have to re-enter your information into its system which results in fewer data-entry errors. Also, according to the IRS, there’s around a 1% error rate on e-filed returns, compared with a 20% rate of mistakes on paper filings.
- Speed: You’ll likely receive your refund faster if you e-file your return rather than mailing it. Paper returns have a lower priority than e-filed returns, and it could take the IRS six weeks or more to get to it. Electronic returns are typically processed in 24 to 48 hours, and if there’s a problem you know in days, not weeks. With e-filing, you could get your money in three weeks or less. Choosing direct deposit can also speed up the refund process.
- Easy payment process: If you owe the IRS, you can ask the IRS to electronically withdraw the money you owe directly from your bank account. You can decide when the IRS withdraws the money – you can submit returns early and pay later if necessary, as long as you pay by the April 15 filing deadline.
For most taxpayers, it makes sense to e-file a return because it’s the most convenient way to submit your tax information to the IRS and it allows for timely refunds and easy payment options.