E-filing Your Tax Return Saves Time, Prevents Common Mistakes

E-file is short for electronic tax return filing. It includes both preparing taxes electronically using tax software and filing taxes electronically.

Buy tax software either off-the-shelf or online. If your income is $58,000 or less, let Free File brand-name software do the hard work for you with free tax preparation and free e-filing. It’s available only through IRS.gov, where a number of tax software companies make their products available for free. Go to Free File to take advantage of this option.

“The software’s question and answer format makes doing taxes much easier than filling out paper tax forms,” said Clay Sanford, an IRS spokesman in Dallas. “E-file can also help you find credits or deductions for which you may be eligible.”

Electronically filed returns are signed electronically. You enter last year’s adjusted gross income or a five digit PIN (Personal Identification Number) that you create yourself. This makes your return more secure and completely paperless.

When you hit “send,” your return will be securely transmitted through an IRS-approved electronic channel. As part of the delivery process, IRS computers automatically check your return for mistakes. If the IRS finds easy-to-fix mistakes, like a math error or a wrong social security number, they can immediately send it back to you. You can fix it and send it right back. This saves time and prevents a simple mistake from holding up your refund.

Choose direct deposit for faster access to your refund than a paper check. It’s also safer than having a check delivered to your mailbox. If you owe tax, the IRS offers various electronic payment options for paying federal taxes and user fees. These options are convenient, safe, and secure, and some of them are free. For more information about e-file, go to www.IRS.gov  and click on the blue e-file icon.