Taxes Meet Technology
Taxes Meet TechnologyFiling Taxes Online is Easy and Saves Time
By Ashley Kahn
While a computer can’t promise immortality, it can simplify that other certainty in life – your annual tax filing. E-filing is a relatively new option for paying taxing, and it is rapidly on its way to becoming the status quo.
According to the Internal Revenue Service Web site, irs.gov, more than 80 million tax returns were filed electronically in 2007, nearly doubling the number of e-filed returns since 2001.
“It was another record-breaking year for e-file,” said IRS Acting Commissioner Linda E. Stiff. “Paper returns continue to drop year after year. E-file is the safe, accurate way for more and more taxpayers to quickly complete their taxes and get a refund faster.”
You can complete your own tax return using commercial software on your personal computer, or hire a professional to do the work for you. There also are online services that can be downloaded to transmit the information electronically. And if you sign up for a Self-Select PIN, a traditional signature is not required.
Not only do you get to keep the postage stamp, but you also avoid the extra trouble involved with paper forms. The traditional forms are printed in November, but tax laws can change in the months leading up to the deadline. Software programs and online sites generally are more up to date, which means you won’t be scrambling to keep up with last-minute additions.
Other benefits include the potential to receive a refund in half the time it takes when using the paper system, due to greater accuracy in the forms. You can further expedite the process by foregoing the paper check and choosing direct deposit. Electronic filing also lessens the chance of further contact from the IRS by 99 percent.
While the IRS cannot endorse a specific company’s product, its Web site does provide a list of approved options, as well as contact information of tax preparers in your area who can assist in electronic filing.
This tax season, e-file for the greatest accuracy and the swiftest return. While your friends wait twice as long for their refunds, you’ll be laughing all the way to the bank.
Irs.gov – Whether you go it alone or consult a professional, filing annual income taxes can be daunting. The Internal Revenue Service is offering a helping hand with a subscription service that offers daily tax tips for 2008. The site also features 30-second audio clips on relevant topics and a list of frequently asked questions that serves as a source to basic head-scratchers, from refund inquiries to instructions on amending returns.
Salary.com – The Cost of Living Wizard at salary.com gives you a chance to see what you need to make in another city to maintain your current standard of living. For example, if you make $50,000 in the Pensacola area, you would have to make more than $131,000 to maintain your standard of living in New York City. Another fun tool is the Salary Wizard, which lets you compare your salary with others in the same ZIP code.
Yahoo.com – That all-service portal, Yahoo.com, offers a plethora of calculators on its financial pages. Among the tax-oriented tools are calculators that will determine your tax savings generated by a mortgage, the tax advantages of an annuity, and how inflation affects your return. Other useful Yahoo! financial calculators focus on retirement, real estate, loans, education, and banking and budgeting.
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