IRS e file is the way you should be doing your taxes. If you’re still hanging on to old ways and using paper IRS forms then you are wasting your precious time. There simply is no good reason anymore to avoid filing your federal income tax return electronically. The only reason I can think of to still be using paper tax returns and filing through US mail is if you don’t have your own computer and you want to do your own taxes. In this case then yes there is still a reason not to be e-filing.
But that’s not very many people…who do you know who doesn’t have a computer? The elderly are a good bet for not having entered the electronic age but you’d be surprised at how many retirees live on their computers. Or the poor…$70 a month for an internet connection is a hefty charge when you live at poverty level. Aside from these situations, most households are connecting to the web or thinking of it, making IRS e file a growing trend. In fact, about 100 million taxpayers file electronically now, making e-filing the norm rather than the exception.
What is IRS e File?
Let’s get our terminology correct: IRS e-file means submitting your taxes electronically. It means NOT mailing in a paper tax return. You can buy commercial tax prep software that compiles your tax return for you, and when you hit the submit button you’ve e filed. You can take your W2s to a tax store and pay them to prepare your taxes. Same thing: they enter the data then click the submit button: e filed. You can prepare your tax return from the IRS website if you meet certain conditions. Again: e-filed.
The Different Ways You Can e File
- FreeFile on the IRS website. If you make $57,000 or less, you have lots of options. You can use the IRS’s tax software, called Free File if you like. It’s available online here from the IRS e file page. It guides you through doing your taxes by asking you questions. You type in the answer and the software starts filling in your tax forms behind the scenes. When you’re done answering questions viola you have a electronic tax return that you can submit by clicking a button.
- Use Commercial Software. Most commercial tax prep companies have the same idea: you can e file for free by using their online systems. The IRS approves the software and they can become part of the E-File network of commercial tax prep companies you can link to from the IRS website.
- e File through a tax store. Companies like H&R Block, that have storefront tax preparation services, are basically using the same type of commercial software you would be using if you chose option #2 above. Except it’s not free.
Now that you know what e file is, what’s stopping you from filing your taxes electronically next year?