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Income Tax E-Filing

March 1, 2012 by staff 

Income Tax E-Filing, Dan Shanley always has filed his taxes online.
“It’s the most convenient and most cost-effective way for me,” said the 21-year-old from Barneveld. “My taxes are so simple that it’s not worth it for me to have it prepared by a professional. It’s easy enough. I’m a college student, so I don’t have any deductions.”
Shanley is not alone.
Nationally, 112.2 million people filed their federal taxes electronically last year, which is about 77 percent of the 145.3 million who filed taxes in 2011, said Dianne Besunder, Internal Revenue Service spokeswoman. The number has increased about 14 percent from the 98.7 million people filing federal taxes electronically in 2010, Besunder said.
“(Electronic filing) has historically grown over the years,” Besunder said. “We would hope it continues because electronic filing is good for taxpayers and good for the IRS.”
Statewide, about 80 percent of all 2011 returns were filed electronically, an 18 percent increase from 2010, said Ed Walsh, director of public information for the State Department of Taxation and Finance.
Through the first week of February, about 1.14 million federal tax returns have been e-filed in New York, Besunder said. Tax returns must be filed by April 17.
Though more and more people are filing electronically, there still are those who are not tech savvy or simply find it easier to have their taxes prepared by someone else.
Charles McMahon, a tax pro at H&R Block in Utica, said he’s helped many people who tried to file electronically and ran into trouble.
“People come in and we take care of them,” he said. “We know what we’re looking for, and we know the questions to ask the individuals. I can pick up things they may not think are important tax-wise.”
Conor McCann, 27, of Yorkville, said he has used online filing but decided to go back to having his taxes prepared as his life got more complicated.
“There are just a lot of things to keep track of,” he said. “That’s one of the reasons I have someone do it.”
McCann owns a rental property and a business. He also has a child and is planning on purchasing a second home.
“I don’t see things getting simpler,” he said.
If you’ve thought about giving up pen and paper and filing electronically, there are three ways to consider:
•Utilizing self-preparation software, such as Turbo Tax. These can be found online or purchased. Check out different preparers, and remember you will be charged for using their software.
•Using a tax-return preparer. Those who prepare more than 10 federal returns for clients generally are required to file electronically. A new state law this year requires those who prepare five or more state returns for profit must file electronically.
•Using free filing. The IRS and state free-filing programs are available for families or people with an income of less than $57,000 per year. Other programs, including local free tax preparation and assistance, can be found on the IRS and state Department of Taxation and Finance websites.
For those who need assistance, specifically those with low- to middle-income levels, there are volunteers in each community available through the Volunteer Income Tax Association. The AARP also has a Tax Counseling for the Elderly Program that can help answer questions.
If you’re filing your taxes electronically, there are some new things to consider:
•Software providers cannot legally charge extra for filing state taxes. They will, however, charge for the use of their applications and software.
•Those using software programs, such as Turbo Tax or Tax Act, must file their state taxes electronically rather than printing them out and mailing them. This law does not impact those who continue to fill out their taxes with the traditional pen and paper.
•Federal tax filers can use their smartphone. The IRS introduced the IRS2GO 2.0 app. Those using Apple and Android platforms can access their tax return transcript and the status of their refund.
•A new debit card refund option is available. The debit card is advantageous for those who do not have a bank account and can’t have direct deposit. The card also is good for one free bank transaction with banks in the MasterCard network. This means it can be cashed like a check for free.

Dan Shanley always has filed his taxes online.
“It’s the most convenient and most cost-effective way for me,” said the 21-year-old from Barneveld. “My taxes are so simple that it’s not worth it for me to have it prepared by a professional. It’s easy enough. I’m a college student, so I don’t have any deductions.”
Shanley is not alone.
Nationally, 112.2 million people filed their federal taxes electronically last year, which is about 77 percent of the 145.3 million who filed taxes in 2011, said Dianne Besunder, Internal Revenue Service spokeswoman. The number has increased about 14 percent from the 98.7 million people filing federal taxes electronically in 2010, Besunder said.
“(Electronic filing) has historically grown over the years,” Besunder said. “We would hope it continues because electronic filing is good for taxpayers and good for the IRS.”
Statewide, about 80 percent of all 2011 returns were filed electronically, an 18 percent increase from 2010, said Ed Walsh, director of public information for the State Department of Taxation and Finance.
Through the first week of February, about 1.14 million federal tax returns have been e-filed in New York, Besunder said. Tax returns must be filed by April 17.
Though more and more people are filing electronically, there still are those who are not tech savvy or simply find it easier to have their taxes prepared by someone else.
Charles McMahon, a tax pro at H&R Block in Utica, said he’s helped many people who tried to file electronically and ran into trouble.
“People come in and we take care of them,” he said. “We know what we’re looking for, and we know the questions to ask the individuals. I can pick up things they may not think are important tax-wise.”
Conor McCann, 27, of Yorkville, said he has used online filing but decided to go back to having his taxes prepared as his life got more complicated.
“There are just a lot of things to keep track of,” he said. “That’s one of the reasons I have someone do it.”
McCann owns a rental property and a business. He also has a child and is planning on purchasing a second home.
“I don’t see things getting simpler,” he said.
If you’ve thought about giving up pen and paper and filing electronically, there are three ways to consider:
•Utilizing self-preparation software, such as Turbo Tax. These can be found online or purchased. Check out different preparers, and remember you will be charged for using their software.
•Using a tax-return preparer. Those who prepare more than 10 federal returns for clients generally are required to file electronically. A new state law this year requires those who prepare five or more state returns for profit must file electronically.
•Using free filing. The IRS and state free-filing programs are available for families or people with an income of less than $57,000 per year. Other programs, including local free tax preparation and assistance, can be found on the IRS and state Department of Taxation and Finance websites.
For those who need assistance, specifically those with low- to middle-income levels, there are volunteers in each community available through the Volunteer Income Tax Association. The AARP also has a Tax Counseling for the Elderly Program that can help answer questions.
If you’re filing your taxes electronically, there are some new things to consider:
•Software providers cannot legally charge extra for filing state taxes. They will, however, charge for the use of their applications and software.
•Those using software programs, such as Turbo Tax or Tax Act, must file their state taxes electronically rather than printing them out and mailing them. This law does not impact those who continue to fill out their taxes with the traditional pen and paper.
•Federal tax filers can use their smartphone. The IRS introduced the IRS2GO 2.0 app. Those using Apple and Android platforms can access their tax return transcript and the status of their refund.
•A new debit card refund option is available. The debit card is advantageous for those who do not have a bank account and can’t have direct deposit. The card also is good for one free bank transaction with banks in the MasterCard network. This means it can be cashed like a check for free.

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