Taxes - Head Matters
8. Tax Filing Choices
There are two questions that need to be addressed to help you with your tax obligations: how to file your tax returns and how to either pay your taxes or receive your refund because you paid too much tax during the year. Either or both of these can be done electronically or they can be done using paper returns and paper checks. The IRS encourages you to “go electronic” if you can.
If you get a refund, you can request the IRS to directly deposit it into your checking or savings account. The time frame for a direct deposit is a matter of days whereas a check in the mail may take weeks. This is your money and the quickest way to get it back to you is through a direct deposit. If you owe the IRS, you can request that the money be withdrawn electronically from your checking account or you can send them a check. With the electronic withdrawal, your bank will report to you on your statement how much and on what date the withdrawal was made. You will have a permanent record of this transaction.
The IRS offers the Free File program which provides free federal income tax preparation and electronic filing for eligible taxpayers through a partnership between the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Free File Alliance LLC, a group of private sector tax software companies. Free File supports preparation of Federal tax returns. Many companies also offer state tax preparation though fees may apply. This service offers free tax preparation and e-filing if your adjusted gross income is $56,000 or less in 2008 and includes free federal e-file with tax refunds in as little as 10 days with Direct Deposit. The service is available in English and Spanish. Go to www.irs.gov for more information.
Generally, filing electronically is quicker and less likely to result in a mathematical error that will require further investigation and maybe even an audit. Even if you end up owing the IRS money, filing electronically is the preferred method.