How to E-File Your Taxes
The Internet provides endless conveniences, particularly when it comes to filing taxes. Not only can you submit your federal tax return online, there are many e-filing services that are designed to walk you through the process step-by-step, ensuring you get the largest return possible. The internet can provide endless resources but the IRS website is a hub of reliable tax information. Explore the site for more articles, resources, and lists of e-filing tax providers.
While there are many benefits to filing taxes online, the primary benefits include:
- Free for taxpayers who make less than $60K a year
Depending on the e-filing tax provider, you can choose to file your taxes through a website or by purchasing tax software. Although the cost of the program is deductible, filing through a website is usually easier than purchasing software from a store. Websites, such as TurboTax and H & R Block, are easy-to-use; plus they costs less and offer their own helpful tax resources. Filing your taxes with an e-filing program is the closest thing to having them file themselves.
Gather Your Documents & Log-On
While the overall process of e-filing is virtually hassle-free, you still have to gather all of the necessary documents.
- Tax statements from your employer, usually a W-2 or 1099 form
- Tax returns from last year
- Any documents relating to investments, retirement funds, pension plans, or government benefits.
- Information on dependents or family members you support more than 50% of the time
- If you’ve already filed online in the past, use the same e-filing service because they frequently save previous returns. You can automatically fill in some forms, such as demographic information.
Once these documents are on hand, log on to the e-filing system. If this is your first time e-filing, you can visit the IRS website and click the “Individual Taxpayers” link. At this point, you can either select the option to free file or select an “Authorized e-file Partner.” Popular websites include : TurboTax, H&R Block, and TaxAct.
Trust the E-File Program
Once you’ve selected an e-file service, the program will do good job of guiding you through your entire tax return. You will need to fill out information about yourself, your income, your deductions, dependents, charitable donations, and more. The system is simple, it asks basic questions then analyzes your answers to determine which forms you’ll need to fill out to complete your tax return. They usually offer a deduction section as well that walks you through any possible deductions.
Next, the e-file system will perform a check to ensure that nothing was missed and everything has been entered correctly. Many e-file services will also offer the ability to have a certified tax professional manually look at your return for errors or missed opportunities for an additional fee. Most also offer a audit-guarantee that promises assistance and guidance in the event of a tax audit.
Owe or Receive a Refund?
Once the website finishes checking everything, the e-file system is then able to determine whether you are due for a refund or if you owe taxes. If you’re expecting a refund, you can choose to receive the funds by direct deposit, usually within ten business days from the filing date. If you owe money to the government, you can either pay directly or submit the paperwork to make payments in installments.
E-filing systems will let you know if you need to pay for the services provided. As mentioned previously, if you make less than $54k, you usually don’t have to pay for the services. Upon payment for the service, the taxes are then filed with the IRS and your e-file process is complete.
The internet is an excellent resource for tax information. Many sites offer tips, ideas, suggestions, and guidelines for tax preparation, but it is important to stick to recommended sites. The IRS website features an Interactive Tax Assistant, a legal tax resource capable of answering almost any question. TurboTax and H&R Block also features several helpful articles on their websites.
About the Author: Victoria K. Stickley is a copywriter, editor, and senior content manager based in the Dallas area. Her graduate education in counseling and research has helped immensely in her writing as well as the care she provides for her grandparents. She currently provides support and resources to senior care websites as she learns and experiences senior care first-hand.