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More and more Americans are choosing e-filing, which lets them electronically file an accurate tax return or get an extension of time to file without sending any paper to the Internal Revenue Service. The U.S. Internal Revenue Service began accepting tax returns this week, although many taxpayers have yet to receive the payment forms from employers, banks and others that are needed to complete a 2011 tax return. The W-2, 1090 and other forms needed to complete tax returns must be mailed to taxpayers by Jan. 31. Tax returns must be in the mail to the IRS by Tuesday, April 17. While people wait for paperwork to arrive, the IRS encourages them to file it online, or visit private tax preparers (listed below are some of them) to begin obtaining the 1040 forms and other schedules they will need to complete their 2011 returns. Since 2011, the IRS no longer mails tax forms directly to taxpayers. Forms can now be obtained on line or from federal office buildings and other tax sites. Like last year, a substantial number of taxpayers will qualify for free help from private preparers, service agencies or the government, and the IRS is again encouraging as my taxpayers as possible to file early and file electronically. The general rule for free help is that individuals or families with less than $57,000 of adjusted gross income are eligible for Free File software from the IRS or free help from any of the roughly 20 private preparers participating in the Free File Alliance LLC, although each preparer has its own guidelines.
Last year, 77 percent of taxpayers filed their returns electronically and the IRS expects at least that many again this year. One reason to file early and to file electronically is that it is the quickest way to obtain a refund. Last year, more than 79 million refunds were electronically deposited into taxpayers bank accounts, the IRS said. Electronic filers who provide bank account information receive their refunds sooner through direct deposit than taxpayers who have to wait for a check in the mail. Another feature of the IRSís e-file system is that once a taxpaper has filed a return online, they will receive an electronic acknowledgment within 48 hours telling them their return has either been accepted or rejected by the IRS. Individuals or families who earn more than $57,000 can download Free File Fillable Forms from the IRS web site. Those forms can be filled out on a computer and either mailed in or sent in electronically.
Income Tax Return Update: eFiling