Paying taxes and death are sure. You can’t evade them. Filing returns is complicated and can be confusing. But with good preparation the experience can be smooth. There are two main ways to file returns - electronic means and on paper. Here are the pros and cons of each approach.



E-Filing vs. Paper filing
Electronic filing or better known as E-Filing, involves submitting your returns via the internet. Paper filing, on the other hand, refers to sending the returns via mail. 
Advantages of E-filing 

1. Fast processing
If you want your papers to be processed quickly, the best way to do it is via E-file. According to the IRS, an electronic file will be processed in 1 or 2 days. As such, you can get your refunds in about three weeks if the return was relatively simple without itemized deductions and via direct deposit. As for the paper filing, expect a refund up to 6 weeks later.

2. Confirmation
With E-filing, you get fast, immediate confirmation that they have received your returns. If there is a problem in the filing, you will get a notice within a day or two so that you can make necessary adjustments.

3. Keeping records
Record keeping is more comfortable with E-filing since digital files are easier to store, query, and refer to when need be. This way, you can use special programs that can draw data from your previous returns, thereby making the process that much easier.

Cons of E-filing

1. Not universal
Unfortunately, some tax situations are too complicated, and therefore the IRS needs a paper trail. Some states have community property rules that need tax returns to be done on paper. Furthermore, some of the tax forms aren't supported by the Modernized e-File (MeF) System 

2. Security
Although we take measures to keep our computers safe, they aren't usually entirely so. Some people file these returns with the help of third-party partners. Because of this, you can't be altogether sure this data cannot be hacked.

Advantages of paper filing

1. Security
Unlike electronic records, paper files pose a much less security risk than digital records. Since you are writing down on paper, your personal information such as your social security number, name, and address aren't available over the internet.

2. Easy to do
You don’t need to be tech-savvy to file on paper. Some people prefer to use pen and paper for their returns so that they don't make any mistakes in the process.

Cons of paper filing

1. Processing time
Since filing on paper requires you to mail the paperwork, processing the documents takes longer. These documents have to reach the IRS and then get processed. You shouldn't be surprised if your refund takes weeks to obtain.

While filing returns might seem complicated, it is easy with proper tools and help. For instance, if you need a proper calculator to estimate how much you will be paying, here is a remarkable income tax calculator.