"If you use e-file with direct deposit, the IRS says it will take 21 days or less to get your refund, which is compared to a four- to six-week turnaround when you file a paper refund," Watts says. That's because when you mail a paper tax return, the IRS must enter all your information into the system manually, Watts explained, which only delays the speed of a refund. Another advantage of e-filing is accuracy. The accuracy of e-filing comes from the tax software double-checking your math and scanning for various other human errors, such as an incorrect Social Security numbers, before you hit the submit button. Federal e-filing is also free, making it foolish not to e-file, Miller says.
"The other thing about electronic filing is that you get an acknowledgement from IRS that the return was received, so you know it got there," Miller says. The receipt is just one of the many confirmations you get as your e-filing is being processed by the IRS. "Once you submit your e-filing you see that it is pending. Once the IRS accepts it, you see that as well," Watts says. "When you paper file, you don't know they accept it until they process it. They wouldn't tell you." And if all those advantages weren't enough, here's one more: It's more environmentally friendly. E-filing is all done online. No paper. No stamps. No driving in your gas-guzzler to the post office or the accountant. Just a click of a button. But at the end of the day, Miller says, it really all comes down to getting that cash in your pocket quicker. "The biggest thing for people is they want their money, and the quickest fastest way to get it is to e-file," Miller says.