The stress of paying taxes: eFiling.
More taxpayers are choosing to eFile. After all, it’s faster, easier and more economical. Taxpayers save on postage and get refunds in half the time. But there’s another immense benefit.
eFiling provides people piece of mind, providing proof the U.S. Internal Revenue Service actually received a tax return. Believe me, during my 30 years as a CPA, I can assure that it happens. That’s why I instruct clients “snail mailing” their returns to get a “receipt requested” card.
Proof is a great thing to have on your side, when dealing with the IRS. The notoriously “penalty-happy” collection agency on steroids could claim you never filed a return. Without proof, taxpayers could face significant fines and interest. Proof offers perfect cover.
Nearly 5 percent of everything I’ve mailed to the IRS is lost, forcing me to prove it was sent. Saving and organizing mailings to the IRS or other state agencies is imperative. Make sure you have “receipt requested” cards-from at least the 10 years-available.
The downside of eFiling is that there’s no return receipt. However, the IRS generally confirms your eFiling by email within 48 hours. You must keep that receipt. Ideally, print it out. Changing computers or email addresses could cost that proof.
The nearly instant receipt confirmation doesn’t guarantee that the IRS or your state accepted the tax return. If it’s not accepted, it could take a year or more to find out. EFiling has its benefits, if you keep track of email confirmations and intend to keep all of your documents.
The IRS offers eFiling options on its Web site at http://www.irs.gov. For instance, those earning $58,000 or less can use Free File. In fact, the IRS has a link to the software’s site. However, online fillable forms are available to all taxpayers. But those forms only do basic math and don’t support state tax returns.
Others opt for over-the-counter or online do-it-yourself tax preparation software. Unlike FreeFile, prices do vary. Like all other eFiling options, your return is sent safely and securely. If you choose to have a tax professional file your return, the option to eFile remains available.
In fact, many tax professionals were eFiling. Now, according to the IRS, they are legally required to eFile. In addition to faster refunds, eFile also provides taxpayers more payment options. Better safe than sorry, encourage your preparer to eFile.