MOUNTAINSIDE — IRS e-file, the popular electronic tax return preparation and delivery service used by two-thirds of New Jersey filers, opens for business today. In New Jersey, nearly 2.8 million e-filed last year out of the 4.2 million returns filed.
“About 1.4 million New Jersey filers may be missing out on faster refunds and safe filing options,” said New Jersey’s IRS spokesman Gregg Semanick. “That’s because they still file their federal tax returns the old-fashion way, by paper.”
“Of the 1.4 million paper filers, 1 million New Jerseyans use a computer software program but do not hit the send button to e-file; instead they print out the tax return and mail it to the IRS,” said Semanick, “The IRS encourages these paper filers to get online with the e-file program.”
There are many new tax breaks this filing season and electronic filing will make it easier for people to find all the credits and deductions they are due, particularly those related to the tax benefits of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Electronic filing will assist filers in taking advantage of new tax-saving opportunities, such as the making work pay credit for most workers, American Opportunity credit for parents and college students, energy credits for homeowners going green, first-time homebuyer credit, sales tax deduction for new car buyers, and the expanded child tax credit and earned income tax credit for low- and moderate-income workers.
The benefits of electronic filing include:
• Faster refunds: Using electronic filing along with direct deposit into a bank account can speed refunds to e-filers in as little as ten days.
• More accurate returns: IRS computers quickly and automatically check for errors or other missing information, making e-filed returns more accurate and reducing the chance of getting an error letter from the IRS. It eliminates most common errors, such as math errors. The error rate with paper returns is about 20 percent compared to about 1 percent with e-filed returns. An error on a tax return can delay the issuance of a tax refund.
• Quick receipt acknowledgement: Computer e-filers receive an acknowledgment that the IRS has received their returns. Paper filers do not receive any acknowledgement. Also, if the IRS rejects an e-filed return, it will provide more specific explanations of the errors that caused the rejection. This will enable taxpayers to make corrections and quickly resubmit their returns.
• Safe & Secure: Over the last 20 years nearly 800 million individual tax returns have been e-filed nationwide without a breach of security or integrity. Tax return information is protected through encryption
• For those who owe, e-file is still the best option: People can file now and pay later, as long as the payment is received by April 15. Taxpayers can set the date for an automatic withdrawal from their financial accounts.
There are several ways to use e-file: through tax preparers, through most tax preparation software; or through IRS Free File at IRS.gov. The IRS does not charge for electronic filing. Many tax preparers and software products also offer free e-filing with their services.
As people become more comfortable using computers and the Internet for financial transactions, the IRS has seen a huge growth in the number of people who are preparing their own tax returns with the help of software. For people seeking free electronic options, IRS Free File offers something for almost everyone through two formats.
Traditional Free File provides free tax preparation software and free electronic filing to individuals or families who earn less than $57,000. Traditional Free File is a public-private partnership in which approximately 20 tax software manufacturers make their tax preparation software and e-filing available for free.
Everyone can use Free File Fillable Forms. This service, now in its second year, provides free online tax forms that can be completed and filed electronically. These are electronic versions of IRS paper forms. This program is ideal for people who are comfortable preparing their own returns with little assistance.
The Free File programs can only be accessed through the IRS.gov Web site.
People looking for a tax preparer who files electronically and for more information on IRS e-file can find this information by clicking the IRS e-file logo on the IRS.gov home page.
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