How to E-file Your Income Tax Return

68.5 million Americans e-filed their income tax returns in 2005. If you weren’t one of them, 2006 is your year to cut out the tax middle man and go paperless with e-file! Using an e-file service for your income tax return is fast, easy, and free.

Allow us to introduce the beauty of the Free File Alliance.The Free File Alliance was formed in 2002 when the IRS partnered with a group of tax software companies to help promote their e-file program. Companies like the ones listed below signed on with the IRS to give themselves free public exposure, which means you get free tax preparation and a faster refund without having to leave the comfort of your home.

There are now more than 17 authorized IRS e-file providers for you to choose from. Follow these simple steps to e-file your income tax online and get your refund direct deposited in a week or two.

What You’ll Need to e-File Your Income Tax Return

– W2 form

– Social Security numbers for yourself, your spouse, and any dependents

– 1099 forms for Dividends, Retirement, or other income, or any 1099 forms with Income Tax Withholding.

– your bank account (checking or savings) #

– your bank’s routing # (which can be found at the bottom of a check or by simply calling the branch you deal with)

– Receipts for expenses for Itemized Deductions (Schedule A).

– Receipts and records for other income or expenses.

Choosing the Best e-File Website

Now that you have all your documents, choose the site you like best. Each site is designed to be intuitive and user-friendly. Some even have a list of FAQs and pop-up definitions for tax terms. IRS links directly to the following pages for free and secure e-file returns:

http://www.esmarttax.com

http://free.number1tax.com/

http://www.lamsontech.com/1040now/freefile.htm

It’s important to note two things when choosing a site. First, check out the income limitation – most sites require your Gross Adjusted Income to be less than $50,000. If yours exceeds the limit, you’ll have to pay around $5.00 to file (plus a small service charge, usually a dollar or two, payable by credit card). Keep an eye out for an age limitation (usually between 16 and 51). Second, be aware of the filing deadline. Some sites only accept free filing up to February 15th, after that date a nominal fee is charged. For more electronic filing sites, visit the IRS’s website.

Now You’re Ready to e-File for Your Income Tax Return

After you’ve chosen where you’re going to e-file, all you do is fill in the blanks! The program does all the tax calculations and handles the electronic transmission of your return. Confirmation of your submission will be delivered to your email account. You can also periodically check the status of your return on the page you used. In some cases, discrepancies between your information and the information the IRS already has in your file (like mismatching Social Security numbers, for example) will cause your e-file to be denied. In this case, you simply re-submit. Once your return has been approved by the IRS, your refund will be directly deposited into your bank account, usually within two weeks. Convenient, accurate, fast and free. E-filing is definitely the least taxing way to get your refund.

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