Paying $20 to E-File State Return

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Leesbro63
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Paying $20 to E-File State Return

Post by Leesbro63 » Fri Mar 25, 2011 9:04 am

Can anyone explain to me why someone would pay $20 (the Turbotax fee) to E-File a state return than can alternatively be printed for a few cents and mailed for another 44?

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SpringMan
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Post by SpringMan » Fri Mar 25, 2011 9:19 am

No, I used snail mail. In our case there were 12 pages so I put an extra stamp on the envelop. I figured I saved about $19. Using the routing information to our checking account resulted in receiving a very fast refund. Not as fast as e-file but only a couple days slower. W2s are supposed to be enclosed when using mail but are not required for e-file. I totally forgot to enclose W2s but it made no difference, apparently the are not really required.
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Post by NYnative » Fri Mar 25, 2011 9:27 am

Some states allow you to file through their websites for free. That's a real bargain as all you are doing is transferring info from your federal return.

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Post by sscritic » Fri Mar 25, 2011 9:28 am

Only if you can explain to me why anyone would get a RAL.

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Post by hsv_climber » Fri Mar 25, 2011 9:37 am

I e-filed State for $20 for the last few years, but I've sent USPS mail this year.

Reason - convenience. Last year I've also send regular mail, but forgot to attach W-2, so they've send it back to me. After I've got it back, I've figured that it would be safer to pay $20 and forget about it.

I've send USPS mail to the State 2.5 weeks ago, but it is still not showing up on their website. Have they received it and just have not entered into the system yet? Did it get lost by USPS? How am I supposed to know? Since I've used regular mail, I don't have any proof of anything.

$20 gives you a piece of mind, since it is electronic and easier to verify.

BTW, in the past IRS has lost my checks twice in 2 consecutive years, which has cost me plenty of time. So, I'd always use e-file for federal taxes.

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Post by kd2008 » Fri Mar 25, 2011 9:43 am

Use TaxAct Ultimate bundle instead. $17.95 for Federal + State + both returns e-filed. You can save 20% more if you google 20% off deal.

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Post by BigFoot48 » Fri Mar 25, 2011 9:53 am

I print the state returns and mail them in. The only reasons I can think of for paying the $20 to e-file is if someone didn't have a working printer, or finally remembered he hadn't filed at 11:59PM on April 15.
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Post by nisiprius » Fri Mar 25, 2011 9:54 am

The fees for eFiling, whether explicit or hidden, and the need to go through a third party, have always stuck in my craw.

How would we react if the IRS or the state tax division said "We will not accept mail directly from taxpayers. We require them to be packed in special boxes according to our specifications. However, your paid prepared will be happy to pack and ship them for you for a nominal fee?"

It's crazy. The IRS has perfectly good wires going to it, and they manage to accept payments and send refunds over those wires, why can't they directly accept the returns themselves?
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Post by masteraleph » Fri Mar 25, 2011 10:06 am

Note, incidentally, that NY has no efiling fee this year. New York state law made it illegal for tax preparers to charge a separate efiling fee, and Turbotax counts as a preparer.

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Post by HueyLD » Fri Mar 25, 2011 10:13 am

nisiprius wrote:It's crazy. The IRS has perfectly good wires going to it, and they manage to accept payments and send refunds over those wires, why can't they directly accept the returns themselves?

Because the powerful software industry lobbied successfully to prevent the IRS (i.e. the federal government) from "competing directly" with the for-profit companies.

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Post by froman118 » Fri Mar 25, 2011 10:39 am

kd2008 wrote:Use TaxAct Ultimate bundle instead. $17.95 for Federal + State + both returns e-filed. You can save 20% more if you google 20% off deal.


This. Saved about $40 by switching from TurboTax to TaxAct this year. Worked just as good. I actually ran my return through both of them and they came out exactly the same.

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monkey_business
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Post by monkey_business » Fri Mar 25, 2011 10:41 am

Personally, I'd rather pay $20 and send the return electronically, than send an envelope with papers that have all my personal information on them.

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Post by 555 » Fri Mar 25, 2011 1:03 pm

kd2008 wrote:"Use TaxAct Ultimate bundle instead. $17.95 for Federal + State + both returns e-filed. You can save 20% more if you google 20% off deal."

I used this package, but I paper/snailmail filed the state return.
I thought you still had to pay a filing fee on top of this for state e-filing.
In any case my state return required some attached documents (almost everyone's would) so you couldn't fully e-file anyway.

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Post by NAVigator » Fri Mar 25, 2011 3:11 pm

I've used TurboTax and in recent years I've preferred H&R Block software. Whenever there was a charge to e-File, I just print and mail. I e-Filed my federal return a couple of days ago. I set the date to pay on April 1, just for the symbolism. I will mail my state return at a later date.

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Post by leod » Fri Mar 25, 2011 3:25 pm

$20 is the cost you have to pay for saving ink and trees :)

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Post by mschmitt » Fri Mar 25, 2011 4:12 pm

555 wrote:
kd2008 wrote:"Use TaxAct Ultimate bundle instead. $17.95 for Federal + State + both returns e-filed. You can save 20% more if you google 20% off deal."

I used this package, but I paper/snailmail filed the state return.
I thought you still had to pay a filing fee on top of this for state e-filing.
In any case my state return required some attached documents (almost everyone's would) so you couldn't fully e-file anyway.


I thought so too, but just checked there website and if you use the online version both fed and state e-file are included. If you download or get a CD, then only the fed e-file is included (I did this last year and I think the state e-file was around $8 ).

So, if you use the online version it will cost $18. If you use the desktop version it will cost $30 with fed and state e-file. I really don't understand why the download version cost that much more though. I'm tempted to use the online version this year, but am concerned both about them having access to my return and me not having access.

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Post by LadyGeek » Fri Mar 25, 2011 4:59 pm

I do my parent's taxes. I used to complete their (paper) taxes for them, then show them what to send in (1099-R, etc.), how much to pay, etc. They'd say OK and take the package home. A few days later, I'd call to see what happened. There's no guarantee that they understood what I told them to do.

Paying $20 so I can e-file in real-time under my supervision? Totally worth it.
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Post by tibbitts » Fri Mar 25, 2011 5:25 pm

As far as I know taxact deluxe, which previously cost less than ultimate, did not include e-file for state. It was about $8 I think. For that it's not worth it to transfer the data to a government-provide free web tool. $20 would be irritating, however.

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Post by Dandy » Sat Mar 26, 2011 7:18 am

It has to cost the states a lot of money to process paper returns. I don't know why they can't work out some modest payment to Turbo Tax etc to pay them a small fee for each state return filed and thereby get a very high % of e files?

Or reduce tax liability for e filers by $X -- It just seem so stupid to only have a choice of paying $20 and causing the state more work/expense/taxes and paying 44 cents.

I don't like NY's approach since I think Turbo Tax should get some of the savings its programming is saving the state.

Does anyone know if the IRS or states have given any financial incentives to firms proving Turbo Tax, Tax Cut etc to encourage e filing??

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Post by sscritic » Sat Mar 26, 2011 7:28 am

Dandy wrote:It has to cost the states a lot of money to process paper returns. I don't know why they can't work out some modest payment to Turbo Tax etc to pay them a small fee for each state return filed and thereby get a very high % of e files?

Or reduce tax liability for e filers by $X -- It just seem so stupid to only have a choice of paying $20 and causing the state more work/expense/taxes and paying 44 cents.

I don't like NY's approach since I think Turbo Tax should get some of the savings its programming is saving the state.

Does anyone know if the IRS or states have given any financial incentives to firms proving Turbo Tax, Tax Cut etc to encourage e filing??

You are touching on the political. Several states have started programs of free e-file or even pre-filled out basic returns. Intuit has spend large sums on lobbyists to fight these efforts in the state legislatures. The "financial incentive" the states offer to Intuit is the opportunity to continue to rip off customers.

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Post by ciscovp » Sat Mar 26, 2011 7:44 am

Dandy wrote:It has to cost the states a lot of money to process paper returns. I don't know why they can't work out some modest payment to Turbo Tax etc to pay them a small fee for each state return filed and thereby get a very high % of e files?

Or reduce tax liability for e filers by $X -- It just seem so stupid to only have a choice of paying $20 and causing the state more work/expense/taxes and paying 44 cents.

I don't like NY's approach since I think Turbo Tax should get some of the savings its programming is saving the state.

Does anyone know if the IRS or states have given any financial incentives to firms proving Turbo Tax, Tax Cut etc to encourage e filing??


My state allows you to efile through their websites for free.

I believe you can efile your federal return online for free if your income is below a threshold.

I remember (couple years ago) that irs was thinking about letting people efile for free, but the software industry lobbied against it.

There are those that will say that irs directly accepting free efiles will be a govt takeover and that it is better to be charged by the for-profit industry

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Re: Paying $20 to E-File State Return

Post by F150HD » Sun Mar 19, 2017 1:13 pm

Old thread, but same question:

H&R Block software Deluxe + State

- you have to pay $20 to e-file the State return through the program.

How many folks here just pay it, file it electronically, and move on with life?

how many 'print' the return and mail?

Note: not looking for reviews of other products, asking specifically about H&R Block and this issue. Thanks.

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Re: Paying $20 to E-File State Return

Post by tfb » Sun Mar 19, 2017 1:24 pm

F150HD wrote:Old thread, but same question:

H&R Block software Deluxe + State

- you have to pay $20 to e-file the State return through the program.

How many folks here just pay it, file it electronically, and move on with life?

how many 'print' the return and mail?

Note: not looking for reviews of other products, asking specifically about H&R Block and this issue. Thanks.

Considering the cost of the software ($20 on sale), I think it's crazy to pay $20 just to e-file state. Print and mail lets you move on with life just fine.
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Re: Paying $20 to E-File State Return

Post by likegarden » Sun Mar 19, 2017 3:02 pm

Since I am retired and no longer itemize (house is paid off) our tax returns are the same every year and I do it on paper. Even when doing with Turbotax I always did it on paper too as comparison. NY state did not let me Efile. So I sent tax returns to IRS and NY via Certified mail. To NY it took 2 days, to IRS one week, it arrived, I tracked it.

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Re: Paying $20 to E-File State Return

Post by Dottie57 » Sun Mar 19, 2017 3:48 pm

I pay. I want tax paying to be done , finished, buttoned up. If this is the worst way I spend money, then I am happy.

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Re: Paying $20 to E-File State Return

Post by Dandy » Sun Mar 19, 2017 3:53 pm

I have so far refused to pay the $20 or so to file state returns. It really doesn't take that much time to print out, assemble and mail it. When I had to use Turbo Tax to pay NY tax a few years ago you had to e-file it and as I recall there was no charge --to me. Why NY can arrange this and NJ hasn't so far eludes me.

I am pretty sure the state handling of this paperwork is more efficient than the old days but they still have to open, scan, & file (or shred) the paper don't they. So, somewhere between providers like Turbo Tax and the states there is a win - win arrangement that could be made. Actually, since I don't know who is getting the $20 maybe there is a win-win between the state and Turbo tax?

In any event after paying a decent amount for Turbo Tax I should be able to e file both state and federal without charge.

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Re: Paying $20 to E-File State Return

Post by Toons » Sun Mar 19, 2017 3:56 pm

Just finished filing.
Used to file federal electronic with TaxAct,then
go to Tn and file the Hall Tax for free.
Now I do them both electronic.
I am finding myself willing to pay for convenience and efficiency ,as I age.
Total cost was 30 for combined fed and state.
Paper returns stopped for me in 1996.
Movin On. :mrgreen:
Last edited by Toons on Sun Mar 19, 2017 3:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Paying $20 to E-File State Return

Post by mrc » Sun Mar 19, 2017 3:58 pm

I print my state return and mail it. We generally get a small federal refund, and owe the state. I hold the paper until around 1 April. Not hard. Although the first year I did this (long time ago) I forgot to include the W-2s!
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Re: Paying $20 to E-File State Return

Post by Big Dog » Sun Mar 19, 2017 4:03 pm

I have always just printed the state return and mailed it in. one or two stamps is a much better bargain that $20.

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Re:

Post by burt » Sun Mar 19, 2017 4:35 pm

HueyLD wrote:
nisiprius wrote:It's crazy. The IRS has perfectly good wires going to it, and they manage to accept payments and send refunds over those wires, why can't they directly accept the returns themselves?

Because the powerful software industry lobbied successfully to prevent the IRS (i.e. the federal government) from "competing directly" with the for-profit companies.



+1
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Re: Paying $20 to E-File State Return

Post by F150HD » Sun Mar 19, 2017 6:20 pm

Dandy wrote:
In any event after paying a decent amount for Turbo Tax I should be able to e file both state and federal without charge.


In todays day and age you'd think itd be no-cost to efile Fed and State as its just less hassle for everyone on each end. Dunno.

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Re: Paying $20 to E-File State Return

Post by F150HD » Sun Mar 19, 2017 6:25 pm

Dottie57 wrote:I pay. I want tax paying to be done , finished, buttoned up. If this is the worst way I spend money, then I am happy.


yea, unless one sends certified, one really has no way of knowing if it was even received on the other end, so, there's still a cost to send certified of $3-5ish per envelope (one to state one to fed).

If they charged a little less they might get more people on board w/ it.

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Re: Paying $20 to E-File State Return

Post by F150HD » Sun Mar 19, 2017 6:29 pm

is the probability of being audited LESS if you e-file everything? versus mailing paper?

just wondering....

a paper copy arriving is already in their hand waiting to be scrutinized versus millions of 'efiles' arriving to their database where they then have to be selected for audit (somehow).

Guessing someone in the know has good input on this.

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Re: Paying $20 to E-File State Return

Post by *3!4!/5! » Sun Mar 19, 2017 6:48 pm

TaxACT does something sneaky. They say (or said in Jan/Feb) that they don't have all the latest versions of the printable state forms so you cannot print it out and mail it in, though you can efile it for a fee. :oops:

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Re: Paying $20 to E-File State Return

Post by LadyGeek » Sun Mar 19, 2017 7:18 pm

^^^ I had a problem with the PA state tax forms. TaxAct support pointed the blame at the state for failing to approve the electronic forms. A comparison with TurboTax's state form status showed that TurboTax was in the same boat - no PA forms were yet available.

A week later, they were approved and I was able to e-file. TaxAct charges $9.99 to e-file.
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Re: Paying $20 to E-File State Return

Post by CAsage » Sun Mar 19, 2017 7:24 pm

When my CA and Federal return was only a few pages, it was worthwhile to print and mail. This year, my Federal return hit 28 pages, and I would have to attach that, plus the CA return. Plus the hassle factor of having to weigh the blasted thing. Most years, I have filed on paper (and included my check, so I know for sure they got it). But this year, I chose to pay the $20 to save myself time and trouble. Over and done instantly. Worthwhile! I spend a lot more on other things I get less out of (just view it as a insignificant cost of your total taxes....)
I understand that many people qualify for free state filing, but ... complex return, paying the $20 additional still far cheaper than CPA.
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Re: Paying $20 to E-File State Return

Post by Epsilon Delta » Sun Mar 19, 2017 7:34 pm

A paper return is opened by somebody who can identify a check and operate a scanner. They are not going to scrutinize the return except possibly for dogeared edges that will jam the scanner.

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Re: Paying $20 to E-File State Return

Post by Leesbro63 » Sun Mar 19, 2017 7:43 pm

F150HD wrote:
yea, unless one sends certified, one really has no way of knowing if it was even received on the other end, so, there's still a cost to send certified of $3-5ish per envelope (one to state one to fed).



This is not true: Here's what I do. I make sure that both Federal and State (PA, I am the original poster from 2011) have at least enough of a refund for the prior year to cover my first quarter estimate for the current year. I do this by making a final estimated payment for the prior year (in this case, 2016) in March and I overestimate by approx the amount that will be due for the first quarter of the current year. At current interest rates, paying a few weeks early means nothing. Perhaps if interest rates ever go back to 18% I'll re-evaluate. The estimate is enough to cover any tax due for the prior year (in this case 2016) and enough to cover the first quarter of the current year's estimate (in this case, 2017), plus a few dollars. I instruct the tax agencies, via Form 1040 and PA40, to credit most of the balance to the current year (2017). And I don't make additional estimated payments until June. But I also have them refund $2 or $3 to my bank account. That refund is my receipt that they not only got the returns, but got the estimated payments. I do continue to print and mail PA just out of principle. I add a screen shot of the bank deposit to my electronic copy of my tax returns. No post office, no Certified Mail cost/paperwork, and the March checks would have had to have been done in April, anyway.
Last edited by Leesbro63 on Sun Mar 19, 2017 7:49 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Paying $20 to E-File State Return

Post by tim1999 » Sun Mar 19, 2017 7:46 pm

I've always printed it out and mailed it. Between paper, ink, envelope, and stamps I figure it costs me less than $2 to do so. And since I always owe the state money, it's not like I'm in a hurry to get it to them.

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Re: Paying $20 to E-File State Return

Post by mouses » Sun Mar 19, 2017 7:47 pm

likegarden wrote:Since I am retired and no longer itemize (house is paid off) our tax returns are the same every year and I do it on paper. Even when doing with Turbotax I always did it on paper too as comparison. NY state did not let me Efile. So I sent tax returns to IRS and NY via Certified mail. To NY it took 2 days, to IRS one week, it arrived, I tracked it.


I do my returns by hand and send them with a tracking number. It took about two days to get to the state and three days to get to the feds. I can't imagine forking it $20 or so for something I can easily do myself.

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Re: Paying $20 to E-File State Return

Post by djmbob » Sun Mar 19, 2017 7:57 pm

I use H&R Block (have for many years) and after moving to Oklahoma in 2014 printed and filed my taxes for 2015 (first year as full-time res).

BUT, I had to also include my complete federal tax forms, all of my 1099s, my brokerage pages showing fund sales, and even had to send in the Vanguard sheet that shows what percent of Tax-exempt income was from OK along with the calculations of how mine calculated for OK tax exempt and what was taxable. After many weeks, I called to check on my refund, and THEN they reviewed my return while I was on the phone and processed it.

Further, I can't file OK for free online because I have tax-exempt income!

So this year, I will be happy to e-file for $20.
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Re: Paying $20 to E-File State Return

Post by F150HD » Sun Mar 19, 2017 8:15 pm

Leesbro63 wrote:
This is not true: Here's what I do. I make sure that both Federal and State (PA, I am the original poster from 2011) have at least enough of a refund for the prior year to cover my first quarter estimate for the current year. I do this by making a final estimated payment for the prior year (in this case, 2016) in March and I overestimate by approx the amount that will be due for the first quarter of the current year. At current interest rates, paying a few weeks early means nothing. Perhaps if interest rates ever go back to 18% I'll re-evaluate. The estimate is enough to cover any tax due for the prior year (in this case 2016) and enough to cover the first quarter of the current year's estimate (in this case, 2017), plus a few dollars. I instruct the tax agencies, via Form 1040 and PA40, to credit most of the balance to the current year (2017). And I don't make additional estimated payments until June. But I also have them refund $2 or $3 to my bank account. That refund is my receipt that they not only got the returns, but got the estimated payments. I do continue to print and mail PA just out of principle. I add a screen shot of the bank deposit to my electronic copy of my tax returns. No post office, no Certified Mail cost/paperwork, and the March checks would have had to have been done in April, anyway.


that sounds exhausting.

If I were 'printing' out and mailing my taxes, I would send them certified. JMO. Thanks.

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Re: Paying $20 to E-File State Return

Post by SimonJester » Sun Mar 19, 2017 8:21 pm

I used to just pay the $20 or what ever it was every year out of laziness, however this year I had enough. My state offers a free e-file via their own web site, so first I completed the return in the tax program, then used those numbers on the state's e-file web site. It only took 5 or 10 minutes to complete.

One annoyance is the state recommends you attach scans of your W2s and 1099s. Thankfully everyone now delivers these as PDFs and their web site would take those.
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Leesbro63
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Re: Paying $20 to E-File State Return

Post by Leesbro63 » Sun Mar 19, 2017 8:28 pm

F150HD wrote:
Leesbro63 wrote:
This is not true: Here's what I do. I make sure that both Federal and State (PA, I am the original poster from 2011) have at least enough of a refund for the prior year to cover my first quarter estimate for the current year. I do this by making a final estimated payment for the prior year (in this case, 2016) in March and I overestimate by approx the amount that will be due for the first quarter of the current year. At current interest rates, paying a few weeks early means nothing. Perhaps if interest rates ever go back to 18% I'll re-evaluate. The estimate is enough to cover any tax due for the prior year (in this case 2016) and enough to cover the first quarter of the current year's estimate (in this case, 2017), plus a few dollars. I instruct the tax agencies, via Form 1040 and PA40, to credit most of the balance to the current year (2017). And I don't make additional estimated payments until June. But I also have them refund $2 or $3 to my bank account. That refund is my receipt that they not only got the returns, but got the estimated payments. I do continue to print and mail PA just out of principle. I add a screen shot of the bank deposit to my electronic copy of my tax returns. No post office, no Certified Mail cost/paperwork, and the March checks would have had to have been done in April, anyway.


that sounds exhausting.

If I were 'printing' out and mailing my taxes, I would send them certified. JMO. Thanks.


Actually it's less work than preparing the April estimate coupon. And it's an absolute confirmation that "they" not only got the return, but processed it. Probably not practical for people who don't make tax estimates

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Re: Paying $20 to E-File State Return

Post by inbox788 » Mon Mar 20, 2017 4:23 am

If you qualify, you can file for free. Some options are federal only or include select states, while others are state and federal. Qualifying requirements vary, so if you don't meet one, try another.

https://www.irs.gov/uac/free-file-do-yo ... s-for-free

Many folks should qualify, and the lower the income, the more likely you'll qualify, but even more modest incomes may meet the requirements.

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obafgkm
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Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2016 9:12 am

Re: Paying $20 to E-File State Return

Post by obafgkm » Mon Mar 20, 2017 5:41 am

I live in Pennsylvania. I've purchased either the TurboTax or Taxcut flavor of Federal e-file + State (no e-file) for years. I'd e-file the federal forms, and then print out the PA state forms and mail in.

For tax year 2016, in 2017 I finally decided to use the PA Department of Revenue e-file software online. It was super easy (especially since I already had the filled-out forms that I otherwise would have mailed in). And I got my PA refund in less than 2.5 weeks electronically deposited, instead of the mailed check that would take months to show up.

deltaneutral83
Posts: 388
Joined: Tue Mar 07, 2017 4:25 pm

Re: Paying $20 to E-File State Return

Post by deltaneutral83 » Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:23 am

I had turbo tax years ago when my return took les than 2 hours to do on my own. I also live in my state's capital. If you really wanna give the a headache, physically show up and drop it off like its 1950. You;ll get a few weird looks. Some people don't want their SSN floating around in snail mail, but for $2 more you can do first class I bet.

Rupert
Posts: 2520
Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:01 pm

Re: Paying $20 to E-File State Return

Post by Rupert » Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:27 am

Dottie57 wrote:I pay. I want tax paying to be done , finished, buttoned up. If this is the worst way I spend money, then I am happy.


+1. I routinely spend $20 on dinner. E-filing through Turbotax or one of its competitors saves me a lot of time. That's at least worth the price of one dinner. Sometimes the things Bogleheads complain about paying for baffles me.

deltaneutral83
Posts: 388
Joined: Tue Mar 07, 2017 4:25 pm

Re: Paying $20 to E-File State Return

Post by deltaneutral83 » Mon Mar 20, 2017 10:41 am

Rupert wrote:
Dottie57 wrote:I pay. I want tax paying to be done , finished, buttoned up. If this is the worst way I spend money, then I am happy.


+1. I routinely spend $20 on dinner. E-filing through Turbotax or one of its competitors saves me a lot of time. That's at least worth the price of one dinner. Sometimes the things Bogleheads complain about paying for baffles me.


It's just a matter of opinion. Most people do not consider 3 minutes a lot of time (print out return, address it, drop in mailbox). For others, it's different priorities.

RustyShackleford
Posts: 1177
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2007 12:32 pm
Location: NC

Re:

Post by RustyShackleford » Mon Mar 20, 2017 10:58 am

leod wrote:$20 is the cost you have to pay for saving ink and trees :)

I realize you're joking ... but send $20 to some organization like National Resources Defense Council instead.

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