This year, pay both your state and federal taxes online -- and do it free or for a small fee.
E-filing can limit the errors you make in your own filing and get your returns back to you sooner. Checks are built into the software, helping to reduce the possibility of costing yourself deserved money or a call from the IRS, while direct deposit can be set up to get you your money back in as little as 10 days.
Those filers with an adjusted gross income of less than $54,000 can take advantage of IRS Free File. According to the IRS, 70% of taxpayers this year can use Free File.
More Americans are already using this service this year. Three million had filed via Free File by the end of February, as compared with 2.6 million to the same period last year, the IRS says.
Meanwhile, visits to irs.gov are up 13% through mid-March as compared with 2007. Those who prepared their own returns online are up 16% from the year before, as more options and easier-to-use software increase the number of Americans choosing to save money on paying an accountant.So far, e-filing is paying dividends -- the total dollar amount in direct deposit refunds is up nearly $10 billion from last year.
For those who are not eligible to use Free File, there are plenty of other e-filing programs, both that you can perform on your own or have done by a tax professional. If you opt to use a tax professional or buy tax software at your local office-supply store, you might want to verify that either one is approved by the IRS.
The IRS lists more than two dozen companies as "authorized," meaning the agency has entered into a partnership agreement with the group, agreeing to provide links to their services in exchange for appropriate product and service descriptions. There are a variety of options listed, ranging from free in price to more expensive plans that include advice from tax professionals.