Nine Tips for E-filing Your Tax Return

Tax preparer and client ready to e-file a returnWith less than a month to go before Tax Day, more taxpayers are considering e-filing their federal income tax returns. The IRS encourages taxpayers to e-file, citing it as the "safest, fastest and easiest way to submit their individual tax returns." Last year, nearly 100 million taxpayers took them up on it; since 1990, taxpayers have e-filed nearly 1 billion individual federal income tax returns.

With e-file, taxpayers can avoid common filing mistakes. This doesn't mean, however, that you shouldn't be careful. Following are a few e-filing tips to help you get your return to the IRS safely this tax season:
  • Organize your records before you begin. You'll need your current year tax documents as well as last year's tax return.
  • Sign your return. Yes, you'll "sign" your e-filed return, too, by entering last year's adjusted gross income or a five digit PIN (Personal Identification Number) that you create. To create a PIN, go to the IRS website and fill out its secure form.
  • Pay your taxes. If you e-file and you owe, you can send a check to the U.S. Treasury, pay by credit card or authorize an electronic funds withdrawal.
  • Get your refund. If you e-file and you're due a refund, you can arrange to have your check mailed to you or get it faster with direct deposit.
  • Be secure. If you e-file your tax return using third party online software, make sure that the connection is secure (one telltale sign is "https" in the URL).
  • Use common sense. If you use a shared computer, such as a computer at a public library, make sure you log out from the program and clear out the Web browser cache. It's recommended, however, that for the best security, you not use a shared computer.
  • Consider using an authorized IRS e-file provider. If you opt not to e-file on your own, you can use the Authorized IRS e-file Provider Locator to find a tax professional who has been accepted into the IRS electronic filing program.
  • Remember that the IRS doesn't charge to e-file. While your tax professional or software provider may charge a fee, the IRS doesn't charge a fee for electronic filing. If you qualify for free tax services, you may be able to e-file and not pay a thing.
  • Be careful. Finally, remember, if you receive an email purporting to be from the IRS that requires a response, do not click on it or respond directly. The IRS will never initiate contact with taxpayers via email.

Myths About Quarterly Taxes for the 1099 Tax Form

For those Americans who pay quarterly taxes—or those who don't but who think they should—understanding the rules governing estimated taxes is vital.

Read More

Brought to you by TurboTax.com

How Long Do Federal and State Tax Returns Need to Be Kept?

If the IRS or state government questions your tax deductions or business losses, you may need a copy of your return.

Read More

Brought to you by TurboTax.com

Who Pays the Transient Occupancy Tax?

"Transient occupancy tax" is paid on temporary lodging at hotels, motels, inns, hostels and similar places. Although the name "transient occupancy tax" is specific to California, similar lodging taxes are in effect across the United States. You pay these taxes when you rent a room, bed or other space. It's the lodging operator's job to collect the tax and pay it to the government.

Read More

Brought to you by TurboTax.com

When to Use Schedule EIC: Earned Income Credit

The earned income tax credit, or EITC, is available to taxpayers with low to moderate income. It was created in 1975 to help offset the heavy burden of Social Security taxes and act as an incentive for low-income taxpayers to continue working.

Read More

Brought to you by TurboTax.com
Read Full Story