The advent of the Internet has alleviated much of the dread associated with preparing and filing your annual income tax return. There are many companies that provide software packages that take the dirty work out of filing your taxes. Seeing the business that these companies drummed up, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has created a website that lists e-file Partners which allow you to fill out and submit your tax return completely online as opposed to purchasing a program from a store. One benefit of the IRS e-file program is that taxpayers who make less than $54,000 can file online for free. Read on to learn more about how to e-file your taxes on the irs.gov website.
Things You'll Need
- Computer with an internet connection
- A copy of the previous year’s tax return
- Social security number for you and your family if applicable
- W-2 forms from all of your employers
- Other information which may include the 1099-INT, 1099-G, 1099-DIV, 1099-R, unemployment compensation, social security benefits
- A list of itemized deductions if you will be filing Schedule A
Gather all of the above listed documents in one place prior to starting. You may have to refer to the documents at various points throughout the process so keep them handy.
Log on to the Internal Revenue Service website and click on the e-file link. Select the “Individual Taxpayers” link. At this point you can either select the option to Free File or select “Authorized e-file Partners.”
Select your e-file partner from the list provided which will then bring you to an e-file online software program.
The e-file software program will then guide you through your entire tax return. You will need to fill out information about yourself and your family (if applicable), your income, your deductions, any charitable donations and much more. The system is designed to ask you simple questions and once you input the data it will determine which forms you will need to fill out to complete your tax return.
Once you have completed the information, the e-file system will then perform a check to ensure that nothing was missed and everything has been entered correctly. Many sites 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.
Once the error check has been run, the e-file system will then determine whether you are due a refund or if tax is due. If you are expecting a refund, you can elect to receive the excess funds by direct deposit which typically occurs within ten days from the filing date. If you owe taxes, you can either pay them directly or submit the paperwork to make installment payments.
Prior to filing for your taxes, you must select an electronic signature method. The e-file system will walk you through your choices and you may be prompted to enter a PIN.
Upon completion of the entire process, it is now time to pay for the preparation service and file your return. Consumers typically have the option to pay be automatic draft from a checking or savings account, pay by credit card and some services even offer the option to have the preparation fees deducted from an expected tax refund. Upon payment, the taxes are then filed with the IRS and your e-file process is complete.
Tips & Warnings
- Some e-file providers will offer a discount if you file both your federal and state income tax returns at the same time. Be sure to research your options and the various discounts available.
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