- Days left

Filing a return online expected by 100 million taxpayers

On Jan. 15, 2010, IRS e-file officially opened for business for the tax season. The IRS expects more than 100 million individual taxpayers to file their returns online in 2010 after banner years in 2008 and 2009.

The hundreds of millions of tax returns filed over the past three years mark a dramatic increase from the 25,000 tax returns filed online in 1986, the first year the IRS accepted online tax returns (download IRS e-file history here).

More than one-third of those 100 million taxpayers will file their returns online by personal computer; the rest will use a professional tax preparer or free file at an IRS site. No matter how you choose to e-file this year, here are some tips to make it as easy as possible:

Be prepared. Even though you won't be filing a paper return, you'll still need certain documents to get you started. Make sure you have the following information handy:

  • Identification information for yourself, your spouse and dependents. This includes Social Security numbers, full names and ages.
  • Prior year's tax return.
  • Forms W-2 from all employers for yourself and your spouse.
  • Forms 1099 for dividends, interest or investments.
  • Forms 1099 for retirement or any forms 1099 with income tax withholding.
  • Receipts and records for business expenses (Schedule C).
  • Records of purchases and sales of stocks, bonds and assets subject to capital gains (Schedule D).
  • Childcare expense receipts and the taxpayer ID number for your childcare provider.
  • Records for other expenses, deductions and credits.
  • Settlement sheet for a new home (first time home buyer's credit).
  • Bank Account Information (for Direct Deposit or to pay electronically).
If you itemize, you'll also want to include:

  • Medical expense documentation, including prescription and doctor's receipts.
  • Mileage logs for business, charitable and moving purposes.
  • Charitable deduction receipts.
  • Forms 1098 for student loans, mortgage and other interest paid.
  • List of taxes paid in 2009, including state and local taxes and real estate taxes.
Double check your return. If you elect to file using your own computer, run an error check. This important step really does increase your chances of filing an accurate return. The IRS claims that taxpayers who file online have a reduced error rate: 1% compared to nearly 20% with a paper return.

Make a payment, if necessary. If you owe taxes, you can elect to pay electronically when you file or pay by mail. If you pay by mail, print out a voucher and mail your payment in by April 15; you don't have pay on the same day you file. If you want to guarantee payment on a certain date, you can set up an automatic withdrawal from your bank or pay by credit card.

Collect your refund. If you're owed a refund, you can get your refund in as few as 10 days if you file online and use direct deposit. Your options for direct deposit are better than before -- now you can designate up to three financial accounts to deposit your refund or use your refund to purchase U.S. Series I Savings Bonds.

Check for your acknowledgment. When you e-file, you (or your tax preparer) should receive an acknowledgment within 48 hours that the IRS has accepted or rejected the return; the IRS will explain any errors that caused a rejection and allow you to make corrections and resubmit your return. Traditional paper filers do not receive any acknowledgment.

The IRS expects 2010 to be the most successful online filing season ever, promising faster, more efficient service. IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman urges taxpayers to consider filing their returns online, claiming, "IRS e-file is safe, it's easy and everyone should try it."

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Understanding Credit Scores

Credit scores matter -- learn how to improve your score.

View Course »

How to Avoid Financial Scams

Avoid getting duped by financial scams.

View Course »

TurboTax Articles

Video: Tax Guidelines About Gifting

Note: Some of the content of this video applies only to taxes prepared prior to 2012. It is included here for reference only. Find out the tax guidelines about gifting with help from TurboTax in this video on tax tips.

Video: What are Income Tax Rates?

Note: The content of this video applies only to taxes prepared for 2010. It is included here for reference only. Income tax rates change depending on both the amount of money you make and how you made it. Find out about income tax rates with help from TurboTax in this video on tax tips.

Video: How To Reduce Errors on Your Tax Return

Did you know that errors on your tax return can affect the amount of your tax bill and the amount of time it takes to get a refund? Fortunately, TurboTax helps you avoid errors AND be sure you're getting all the tax deductions and credits you deserve.

Does Your Company Need to File Form 1095-B?

A company is responsible for filing IRS Form 1095-B only if two conditions apply: It offers health coverage to its employees, and it is "self-insured." This means that the company itself pays its employees' medical bills, rather than an insurance company. A company that doesn't meet both conditions won't have to deal with Form 1095-B. Its employees might still receive a 1095-B, but from their insurer, not the employer.

Video: Who Qualifies for an Affordable Care Act Exemption (Obamacare)?

The Affordable Care Act requires all Americans to have health insurance or pay a tax penalty. But, who qualifies for an Affordable Care Act exemption? Find out more about who qualifies for an exemption from the Affordable Care Act tax penalty, how to claim an exemption on your tax return and how the Affordable Care Act may affect your taxes with this video from TurboTax.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum