Tips for Tax Procrastinators: File electronically


Filing your tax return electronically is preferable to sending paper tax returns for so many reasons. The first and most obvious reason is that you get quick confirmation that the IRS has received your return. No more crossing your fingers and hoping that the postal service delivers your return to the tax man.

Another compelling reason to file electronically is that it eliminates the potential for errors. Did you know that when you send in a paper tax return, an IRS employee has to key those numbers into their system by hand? And what happens if they make a mistake? You end up getting a notice that something is wrong with your tax return, and you could spend hours trying to correct the problem. E-filing takes away the possibility of clerical errors on the part of the IRS.

Most importantly, though, is the fact that electronic filing speeds up your receipt of your tax refund. There's no waiting for the slow wheels of tax return processing that you have with a paper return. The computers can check your data against theirs and approve your refund quickly. Most people who e-file will have their refunds within 1 to 2 weeks if they choose direct deposit. Many taxpayers are eligible for free e-filing of tax returns, and information on this program is available at the IRS website.

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Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.