Do you file your federal taxes electronically, or are you still using the paper forms? The IRS (Internal Revenue Service) says that almost 100 million taxpayers e-filed their taxes last year. Even I’m surprised that many of us e-file.
There are three ways to e-file:
- Free File – You can go to IRS.gov and use the Free File program if your income was $58,000 or less. If you’re the type of person that prefers to fill in the forms yourself, you can do that online too with the Free File Fillable Forms program. With fillable forms, you choose the forms you need, fill them in, sign electronically and e-file your return.
- e-file – You can do it yourself and buy tax preparation software, prepare your own return, and press “send to e-file.”
- Find a tax preparer that is an authorized IRS e-file provider and have your tax preparer e-file for you. Nearly all tax preparers use e-file, and many are now required by law to e-file.
E-filing can even help you avoid the processing delay caused by the tax legislation enacted late last year. If you’re somebody who claims itemized deductions on Schedule A, the higher education tuition and fees deduction on Form 8917, or the educator expenses deduction, you can e-file and get a head start because many major software providers have announced they will accept these impacted returns immediately. The software providers will hold onto the returns and then electronically submit them after the IRS systems open on Feb. 14.
This year you can even track your refund with your smartphone! The free IRS2Go app is available in the Apple App Store and the Android Marketplace.