Are you one of the “holdouts” who still file their tax return on paper?
Strategy: Switch to the e-filing method. According to the IRS, more than 135 million returns were e-filed last year.
The IRS encourages taxpayers to use the e-filing method for these six reasons.
1. It’s accurate and easy. The tax software helps you avoid mistakes by doing the math for you. It guides you through each section of your tax return. This is much easier than doing your taxes by hand and mailing paper tax forms.
2. It’s safe and secure. IRS e-file meets strict security guidelines. It uses modern encryption technology to protect tax returns. The IRS is continuing to work with states and tax industry leaders to protect tax returns from identity theft refund fraud. It claims its latest efforts make tax filing safer than ever before.
3. It’s convenient and often free. You can e-file for free through IRS Free File. Free File is only available on IRS.gov. You may qualify to have your taxes e-filed for free through IRS volunteer programs. Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) offered free tax preparation last year if you earned $54,000 or less. Tax Counseling for the Elderly generally helps taxpayers age 60 or older. Alternatively, you can buy software or rely on your tax pro. Most paid preparers are required to file their clients’ returns electronically.
4. You receive faster refunds. That’s because there is nothing to mail and your tax return is virtually mistake-free. The fastest way to get your refund is to combine e-file with direct deposit into your bank account. The IRS issues more than nine out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days.
5. It helps with health care reporting. E-filing helps with tax provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The software will walk you through the lines on the tax forms relating to the ACA.
6. It offers convenient payment options. If you owe tax, you can e-file early and set up an automatic payment anytime until the April 17 deadline. You can pay electronically from your bank account with IRS Direct Pay, among other options.
Tip: Visit IRS.gov/payments for details.
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