You've decided it's finally time to take that big technological tax step. This year, you're e-filing.
You definitely won't be alone. For the last several years, the number of taxpayers electronically filing their returns has increased.
Not surprisingly, e-filing comes in two waves: early filers, who generally are getting tax money back and like the speed e-filing offers in getting the refund process going, and taxpayers who wait until just before the tax deadline to hit the "enter" key.
E-filing by the numbers
|Total returns filed, paper and electronically||134.3 million||0.8 percent decrease|
|Total e-filed returns||114 million||1.7 percent increase|
|E-filed by tax professionals for clients||70.4 million||0.1 percent increase|
|E-filed directly by taxpayers||43.6 million||4.4 percent increase|
Source: Internal Revenue Service
In addition to the appeal of more precise time control over your 1040's delivery, electronic filing offers several more attractions. In most cases, the computer filing programs have all the forms you'll need and they are regularly updated. That's important because Congress often makes last-minute changes to tax laws that delay publication of forms. By using software, you'll get the current and correct filing material sooner.
You're also taken step-by-step through the filing process. And the electronic calculators make fewer mistakes, as long as you enter the correct numbers.
But the most appealing e-filing advantage: Your return gets to and is processed by the Internal Revenue Service sooner. The IRS says turnaround on an e-filed return is, generally, less than two weeks. That speed is especially welcome if you're expecting a refund, which the agency says it can get to you in around 10 days if you e-file and have the refund directly deposited.
Even better, there are a variety of ways to electronically submit your return. Here's a look at your e-file options.