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Online Tax Filing Tips

Online Tax Filing Tips

Many tax preparation companies offer a tax preparation software program to help taxpayers both prepare and file their income tax returns. E-filing, short for electronic filing, is when you choose to file and submit your income tax return to the IRS through one of the following methods:

- A tax preparation software program,

- The computer of a tax preparer, or

- An online tax preparation service.

Tax Software Program. A tax preparation software program will usually offer different features to help taxpayers during their tax preparation process. A popular feature of many of these programs is the capability to allow taxpayers to file their taxes online. If it is a good tax software program, this feature will be easy and quick to use. The software program will take you step-by-step through your tax return preparation process. It also will double-check your work as you go along. When something does not match, you will receive an error message. Upon correcting the information, you will be allowed to proceed in the process.

Some tax preparation software programs can be downloaded to your computer from the Internet. These are not the same programs as those that are strictly offered online. A downloaded tax preparation software program is found on an Internet site and downloaded to your personal computer. You do not have to be online to use it. Check around to see what is available.

Tax Preparer. When you take your tax return to a tax preparer, ask if they submit tax returns via e-file. Most tax preparers will offer this service. Many charge a fee. Call and ask beforehand. When you have someone else prepare your tax return for e-filing, you will need to take them the same financial documents as if you were filing with the paper method.

An online tax preparation service is usually found on many of the tax preparation firms websites. You must be online to utilize this service. Whenever you purchase a tax preparation software program, see if this feature is offered. You also can obtain some online tax return filing sites by simply performing an online search. Also, many service providers offer this service through the IRS Free File Alliance program. Check to be certain what the fee is, if any.

Many commercial tax software companies offer free electronic filing (e-filing) of tax returns in conjunction with the IRS. This partnership program is titled 'Free File Alliance'. Known as an authorized service provider, these companies can save you a lot of time, money, and frustration.

Free File Alliance is offered through the IRS website at irs.gov. In 2005, over 5 million taxpayers used this program - according to the IRS. Electronic filing of tax returns is on the increase and the IRS plans on making it even better, quicker, and more convenient.

Once you gain access to the Free File Alliance program offer both federal and state filing of income tax returns. This is an added benefit if you have to concern yourself with reporting state income tax.

Free File Alliance is truly free (no charge) for you if you meet the required eligibility criteria. Upon completing the tax preparation process and submitting your 2006 income tax return, you will receive a receipt confirmation. Be sure to print this up. This is proof of when your 2006 income tax return was submitted and received by the IRS.

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