FYI

Though paying taxes can be taxing, the IRS makes it easier with electronic filing.Death and Taxes for Your PCComputers make fast work of filing and refunds 

By Ashley Kahn

While a computer can’t promise immortality, it can simplify that other certainty in life – your annual tax filing. It’s called e-filing, and it’s on its way to becoming the status quo.

According to the Internal Revenue Service Web site, irs.gov, 73 million tax returns were filed electronically in 2006, with 18 percent completed at home computers. You could be just a few clicks away from a speedy refund. On average, people who e-file receive their money in half the time of the paper system. How? There are far fewer errors. Electronic filing lessens the chance of further contact from the IRS by 99 percent. You can further expedite the process by forgoing the paper check and choosing direct deposit.

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 may be downloaded to transmit the information electronically. 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. They’re 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.

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.

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