Mail or E-File Tax Returns - TFB comments

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Do you e-file or paper file your taxes? (TFB comments)

e-file
87
70%
file paper for privacy reasons
6
5%
file paper for other reasons
31
25%
 
Total votes: 124

joppy
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Mail or E-File Tax Returns - TFB comments

Post by joppy » Mon Mar 26, 2012 1:39 am

After having mailed tax returns on paper until last year, I have been thinking about e-filing. While deciding, I came across this article by tfb: http://thefinancebuff.com/tax-software- ... -mail.html.

TFB - do you have any additional comments this year, or do you still feel exactly the same way?

In 2012 (for 2011 taxes), e-filing is now "included" in the price of the software.

However, I still question the privacy implications of all my tax data on the servers of HR Block or Intuit. I wish I could buy software that would "talk" directly to IRS computers and input the required data. I would be interested in any comments anyone has about sharing data with HRBlock or Intuit.

Thanks,
Joppy

PS: For completeness, if you don't file taxes in the US, eiter don't vote or vote the way you think you *would* file if you filed taxes in the US.

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Mrs.Feeley
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Re: Mail or E-File Tax Returns - TFB comments

Post by Mrs.Feeley » Mon Mar 26, 2012 1:55 am

joppy wrote:However, I still question the privacy implications of all my tax data on the servers of HR Block or Intuit. I wish I could buy software that would "talk" directly to IRS computers and input the required data. I would be interested in any comments anyone has about sharing data with HRBlock or Intuit.
I agree, having our personal information on the servers of these companies makes me queasy. And I especially don't want my financial information gurgling around an IT system owned by Sears. They can no longer even deliver refrigerators competently. I still file with paper.

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Re: Mail or E-File Tax Returns - TFB comments

Post by Sheepdog » Mon Mar 26, 2012 2:41 am

I have efiled for about as long as efiling has been available. For several years I have used free filing sites linked from IRS.gov.
Jim
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Re: Mail or E-File Tax Returns - TFB comments

Post by madbrain » Mon Mar 26, 2012 3:59 am

Had to mail.
The IRS is unable to accept any returns for registered domestic partners in California electronically.
[off-topic comment removed by admin alex]

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Mrs.Feeley
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Re: Mail or E-File Tax Returns - TFB comments

Post by Mrs.Feeley » Mon Mar 26, 2012 5:28 am

[response to off-topic comment removed by admin alex]

sscritic
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Re: Mail or E-File Tax Returns - TFB comments

Post by sscritic » Mon Mar 26, 2012 5:39 am

I use the mail for two reasons:

1) Resentment. I used to buy tax software for $20 and had the option to e-file for an added $20. Then free e-file was forced on us by politicians and the industry and the price of the software jumped to $40. I have never e-filed.

2) This year I refused to pay and bought no software. I have a spreadsheet and downloaded forms from the IRS and the state to fill out. I can't e-file them.

[off-topic comments removed by admin alex]

madbrain
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Re: Mail or E-File Tax Returns - TFB comments

Post by madbrain » Mon Mar 26, 2012 6:45 am

madbrain wrote:Had to mail.
The IRS is unable to accept any returns for registered domestic partners in California electronically.
I am not sure where to even start to get this corrected.

The IRS requires California registered domestic partners to split their income and withholding between their 2 individual returns.

The IRS computers that process e-files check that your withholding matches what was reported by your employer on your W2 within a few dollars.
I think this is meant to prevent fraud for people who claim more withholding than was really taken.

But for domestic partners, the withholding will never match what's on the W2, since it has to be split.
Compared to the W2s, one partner will always report "excess" withholding, and the other "under" withholding.

Technically, I e-filed this year first with Turbotax, but then my return was rejected because the withholding didn't match.

I had to waste toner, ink and stamps to get this exact same correct return in writing to the IRS, which was then accepted.

My federal return including all worksheets was 104 pages.
My partner's federal return with all worksheets was only 30 pages.
At least we printed double-sided.

We were able to file our 51 page joint California return electronically, including a 90 page fictitious joint federal return..

Solving this problem involves 1 of 2 things :

1) having the IRS change the withholding checks from their computers for e-filing and stop automatically rejecting valid returns.

This would likely require a human to get involved in those cases where the withholding doesn't match.
An extra business day for acceptance of the e-filed return would be OK to me, even though it would still be discrimination.
It would be a lot better than requiring everything to be mailed. No doubt this will cost the IRS extra money to implement.

The IRS was prompt to cash the check for the $266 tax I owed (returned mailed monday, check cashed on tuesday !), but it took one month to refund the $575 that my partner was owed. We were looking at small numbers fortunately, but it could have been a lot worse. Some couples might need to get the refund for one partner first in order to pay the tax owed by the other. This effectively moves the filing deadline to a much earlier time than for others.

2) having the IRS and the federal government recognize California registered domestic and same-sex couples as married, and allowing them to file joint returns just like every other couple. This requires section 3 of DOMA to be either repealed by our do-nothing Congress, or to be found unconstitutional through one of the various DOMA court cases. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defense_of_Marriage_Act

My money is on #2, through the court system.

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Re: Mail or E-File Tax Returns - TFB comments

Post by rkhusky » Mon Mar 26, 2012 6:49 am

I will e-file when I can do it directly with the IRS for free.
Last edited by rkhusky on Mon Mar 26, 2012 11:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

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plannerman
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Re: Mail or E-File Tax Returns - TFB comments

Post by plannerman » Mon Mar 26, 2012 7:23 am

I e-file federal and mail-in state tax returns. I have been using tax preparation software since the late 1980's. I don't find any task much worse than going through a complicated, hand-prepared 1040 for the final review and finding a small mistake that requires doing several forms over again by hand. Consequently, I think tax software is great product and would pay for it even if it cost twice as much.

When it used to cost extra to e-file, I mailed in my returns. Not because of privacy concerns, but as a protest against charging for something that should be free. When free federal e-file was bundled into the tax software price, it became more expensive, as well as more time consuming, to print and mail the federal return than e-file. So I capitulated.

Not so for my relatively simple state-tax form. Rather than pay an additional $19.95 to file it electronically, I still continue to print and mail in the form.

I thought it was interesting that I got a mailing from our state department of revenue a couple of months ago polling me on why I e-filed my federal return but mailed in my state return. I responded that it was "too expensive" to e-file the state return. I suppose now the states will get together and lobby to get the price of state e-file bundled into the tax software price as well.

plannerman

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tfb
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Re: Mail or E-File Tax Returns - TFB comments

Post by tfb » Mon Mar 26, 2012 8:23 am

joppy wrote:TFB - do you have any additional comments this year, or do you still feel exactly the same way?
Still exactly the same way -- locally installed software, print and mail returns -- for the same reasons. Glad to see I'm not alone. If you buy the right software at the right time and place you can keep the software cost still under $20, which is what I used to pay before e-file became bundled. This year I paid $20 for software and $4 for postage, which covered both federal and state returns.

In another thread, some reported not receiving I Bonds as expected from the tax refund. Someone said an IRS agent told him or her it was caused by a bug in the efile system. This may be another reason for not efiling.
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BigFoot48
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Re: Mail or E-File Tax Returns - TFB comments

Post by BigFoot48 » Mon Mar 26, 2012 8:55 am

plannerman wrote:I e-file federal and mail-in state tax returns. I have been using tax preparation software since the late 1980's....but as a protest against charging for something that should be free.
I do the same thing for the same reason, however after mailing in my state return this year I discovered Arizona offers a number of ways to e-file for someone with a low AGI like we have, so next year I hope to e-file state for free too.

I don't know what is stored on TurboTax's website when I e-file Federal, but assume it's reasonably secured, so I don't give it a second thought.
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AAA
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Re: Mail or E-File Tax Returns - TFB comments

Post by AAA » Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:55 am

I mail in paper copies. I use TurboTax and mainly don't want my personal information residing on Intuit's computers (or any other vendor's).

Question - when you e-file, using for instance TurboTax, does it show you exactly what is being sent or is that not possible because it is in some kind of obscure electronic form? That's another reservation that I have about e-filing, wondering exactly what is being sent.

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tfb
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Re: Mail or E-File Tax Returns - TFB comments

Post by tfb » Mon Mar 26, 2012 10:22 am

AAA wrote:Question - when you e-file, using for instance TurboTax, does it show you exactly what is being sent or is that not possible because it is in some kind of obscure electronic form? That's another reservation that I have about e-filing, wondering exactly what is being sent.
I read on these forums efile includes worksheets data not sent with paper forms.
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jebmke
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Re: Mail or E-File Tax Returns - TFB comments

Post by jebmke » Mon Mar 26, 2012 10:46 am

I paper filed in 2009 (and a few earlier years when I was an ex-pat). The IRS lost my entire file for 2009, twice. Where is it, I asked, twice. We don't know, they said, twice. Can you find out where the files are, I asked, twice? We will never know, they said, twice.
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daytona084
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Re: Mail or E-File Tax Returns - TFB comments

Post by daytona084 » Mon Mar 26, 2012 10:57 am

A few thoughts...

Has anyone ever suffered any ill-effect from having their data on Intuit's server? Does it really sit there forever?

Personally I had not thought of this. But I would think that the IRS would have the decency to deal only with reputable partners, and require them to adhere to some sort of privacy standard. Is this a naive assumption?

If we are considering the occurrence of a highly unlikely event, I suppose one cannot rule out the possibility that paper filing might also have a security risk.

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Re: Mail or E-File Tax Returns - TFB comments

Post by NAVigator » Mon Mar 26, 2012 11:09 am

I agree with others that the additional cost to file electronically is a deterrent. So, I file electronically for my federal return. This year my state is virtually requiring electronic filing. There are several "free" options, but I don't qualify for them. I found a PDF of the 1040A that I can fill out and print and I will submit that.

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ddunca1944
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Re: Mail or E-File Tax Returns - TFB comments

Post by ddunca1944 » Mon Mar 26, 2012 11:12 am

When I have a refund coming, I efile because the refund gets to me faster (this year it took 8 days)

OTOH, if I owe the IRS, I mail the return with a check because the funds stay in my account longer. And I wait until the last day or so to mail it, even if I've had the form completed months ago.....

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Re: Mail or E-File Tax Returns - TFB comments

Post by jebmke » Mon Mar 26, 2012 11:21 am

I e-file approximately 400 returns a year at TaxAide. The state returns in MD go through very fast. I had one taxpayer who came in on March 23 due to receiving a late 1099 (we needed to amend her Fed and State). I had filed her Fed return on Saturday, March 17, the state on Sunday. When she came in on the 23rd, she had her additional 1099 plus her state refund check. State e-files with direct deposit are taking about 2-3 business days to deposit the cash , best I can tell.
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Re: Mail or E-File Tax Returns - TFB comments

Post by jeff1949 » Mon Mar 26, 2012 11:27 am

plannerman wrote:I e-file federal and mail-in state tax returns. I have been using tax preparation software since the late 1980's. I don't find any task much worse than going through a complicated, hand-prepared 1040 for the final review and finding a small mistake that requires doing several forms over again by hand. Consequently, I think tax software is great product and would pay for it even if it cost twice as much.

When it used to cost extra to e-file, I mailed in my returns. Not because of privacy concerns, but as a protest against charging for something that should be free. When free federal e-file was bundled into the tax software price, it became more expensive, as well as more time consuming, to print and mail the federal return than e-file. So I capitulated.

Not so for my relatively simple state-tax form. Rather than pay an additional $19.95 to file it electronically, I still continue to print and mail in the form.

I thought it was interesting that I got a mailing from our state department of revenue a couple of months ago polling me on why I e-filed my federal return but mailed in my state return. I responded that it was "too expensive" to e-file the state return. I suppose now the states will get together and lobby to get the price of state e-file bundled into the tax software price as well.

plannerman
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BigFoot48
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Re: Mail or E-File Tax Returns - TFB comments

Post by BigFoot48 » Mon Mar 26, 2012 11:30 am

ddunca1944 wrote:OTOH, if I owe the IRS, I mail the return with a check because the funds stay in my account longer. And I wait until the last day or so to mail it, even if I've had the form completed months ago.....
Have you calculated recently how much interest you earn on your money by waiting? :shock:
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Re: Mail or E-File Tax Returns - TFB comments

Post by KyleAAA » Mon Mar 26, 2012 11:35 am

Even if you don't trust Turbotax with your info, it's still more secure than the mail.

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Re: Mail or E-File Tax Returns - TFB comments

Post by Sammy_M » Mon Mar 26, 2012 12:11 pm

tfb wrote:
AAA wrote:Question - when you e-file, using for instance TurboTax, does it show you exactly what is being sent or is that not possible because it is in some kind of obscure electronic form? That's another reservation that I have about e-filing, wondering exactly what is being sent.
I read on these forums efile includes worksheets data not sent with paper forms.
Here is that thread: http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtop ... =2&t=93247

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cheese_breath
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Re: Mail or E-File Tax Returns - TFB comments

Post by cheese_breath » Mon Mar 26, 2012 12:28 pm

I do both. E-File federal return because it's free with TurboTax. Mail state return because state E-File is not free. I can wait a couple more weeks for my refund to save the state E-file charge.
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Sidney
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Re: Mail or E-File Tax Returns - TFB comments

Post by Sidney » Mon Mar 26, 2012 12:29 pm

cheese_breath wrote:I do both. E-File federal return because it's free with TurboTax. Mail state return because state E-File is not free. I can wait a couple more weeks for my refund to save the state E-file charge.
Why not just collect your refund before you file?
I always wanted to be a procrastinator.

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cheese_breath
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Re: Mail or E-File Tax Returns - TFB comments

Post by cheese_breath » Mon Mar 26, 2012 12:42 pm

Sidney wrote:
cheese_breath wrote:I do both. E-File federal return because it's free with TurboTax. Mail state return because state E-File is not free. I can wait a couple more weeks for my refund to save the state E-file charge.
Why not just collect your refund before you file?
How do I do that? I file as soon as I complete the tax forms and don't know what the refund will be before that.
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Re: Mail or E-File Tax Returns - TFB comments

Post by Sidney » Mon Mar 26, 2012 12:46 pm

cheese_breath wrote:
Sidney wrote:
cheese_breath wrote:I do both. E-File federal return because it's free with TurboTax. Mail state return because state E-File is not free. I can wait a couple more weeks for my refund to save the state E-file charge.
Why not just collect your refund before you file?
How do I do that? I file as soon as I complete the tax forms and don't know what the refund will be before that.
What I do is make sure my withholding and first three estimated tax payments are less than what I will owe, then prepare a pro-forma return in early January (all income and deductions should be known by then). When I make my 4th estimated payment, I true up the entire year. Then I file my taxes in September. I rarely have much difference - maybe a small refund. I usually take a quick look in early April to see if I missed anything that I should cover with a payment accompanying my extension.
I always wanted to be a procrastinator.

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Re: Mail or E-File Tax Returns - TFB comments

Post by cheese_breath » Mon Mar 26, 2012 1:40 pm

Sidney wrote:
cheese_breath wrote:
Sidney wrote:
cheese_breath wrote:I do both. E-File federal return because it's free with TurboTax. Mail state return because state E-File is not free. I can wait a couple more weeks for my refund to save the state E-file charge.
Why not just collect your refund before you file?
How do I do that? I file as soon as I complete the tax forms and don't know what the refund will be before that.
What I do is make sure my withholding and first three estimated tax payments are less than what I will owe, then prepare a pro-forma return in early January (all income and deductions should be known by then). When I make my 4th estimated payment, I true up the entire year. Then I file my taxes in September. I rarely have much difference - maybe a small refund. I usually take a quick look in early April to see if I missed anything that I should cover with a payment accompanying my extension.
I guess a little clarification is in order. I do exactly what you do for my federal tax, except I don't wait until September to file. But regarding my state refund, I'm referring to a partial refund of my property taxes, not income tax. In Michigan, depending on your income and amount of property tax, you can get a partial refund of the property tax when you file your state income tax. You have to pay the entire property tax when it's due and wait until income tax time to get your refund. But this won't be an issue for me anymore because in 2012 they reduced the income limit which allows you to qualify for the refund, and my income will be too high.
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Re: Mail or E-File Tax Returns - TFB comments

Post by Tony » Mon Mar 26, 2012 2:46 pm

The most important reason I e-file is that I think IRS is more likely to make mistakes if I mail in my return.
Tony

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Re: Mail or E-File Tax Returns - TFB comments

Post by theduke » Mon Mar 26, 2012 4:19 pm

ddunca1944 wrote:When I have a refund coming, I efile because the refund gets to me faster (this year it took 8 days)

OTOH, if I owe the IRS, I mail the return with a check because the funds stay in my account longer. And I wait until the last day or so to mail it, even if I've had the form completed months ago.....
You can still do the same thing when you efile and have to pay the IRS. When you print your return, it should print a payment voucher which you have until April 17 to mail in along with your check.

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Re: Mail or E-File Tax Returns - TFB comments

Post by Aptenodytes » Mon Mar 26, 2012 4:26 pm

This was the first year I was able to e-file both federal and state (NY) returns. I'm a cheapskate, so whenever I had to pay to e-file I'd mail in the paper return instead. For a long time NY charged you to e-file. This year they reversed things and charge you to file paper but make e-file free.

I need TurboTax to get me through the form regardless of how I file, so I don't consider the purchase price of the software as an e-filing expense.

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bru
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Re: Mail or E-File Tax Returns - TFB comments

Post by bru » Mon Mar 26, 2012 5:52 pm

Does using Free Fillable Forms count as efile? I voted yes but maybe that isn't what you were going for.
rkhusky wrote:I will e-file when I can do it directly with the IRS for free.
Well as I said I use Free Fillable Forms which is free. It's like filling out paper forms and then submitting them electronically. Free.

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Re: Mail or E-File Tax Returns - TFB comments

Post by tfb » Mon Mar 26, 2012 6:28 pm

bru wrote:Does using Free Fillable Forms count as efile? I voted yes but maybe that isn't what you were going for.
rkhusky wrote:I will e-file when I can do it directly with the IRS for free.
Well as I said I use Free Fillable Forms which is free. It's like filling out paper forms and then submitting them electronically. Free.
Yes Free Fillable Forms count as efile, but you are not doing it directly with the IRS when you use Free Fillable Forms.
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Re: Mail or E-File Tax Returns - TFB comments

Post by boater07 » Mon Mar 26, 2012 6:50 pm

Something else not mentioned so far. If your return requires any clarifications that are attached to the return--Don't efile.
I did IRA recharacterizations in 2 years with the explanatory statement attached to TT. Resulted in audit 4 years late.
IRS computer does "not" read explanations.
I sent a copy of the statement attached to the efiled return and all was well. The following year, I sent paper return with similar explanations and went thru smoothly

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Re: Mail or E-File Tax Returns - TFB comments

Post by bru » Mon Mar 26, 2012 6:59 pm

tfb wrote:Yes Free Fillable Forms count as efile, but you are not doing it directly with the IRS when you use Free Fillable Forms.
I forget it's administered by a 3rd party. My state has a similar program for efiling but I don't know if it's also from a 3rd party.

I don't know if I'd trust a tax program from the IRS :wink: . So this is good enough for me. As a bonus the little grey cells get exercise. And it's free (I think I mentioned that).

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Re: Mail or E-File Tax Returns - TFB comments

Post by peppers » Mon Mar 26, 2012 7:59 pm

E-file.
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Re: Mail or E-File Tax Returns - TFB comments

Post by interplanetjanet » Mon Mar 26, 2012 8:20 pm

Tony wrote:The most important reason I e-file is that I think IRS is more likely to make mistakes if I mail in my return.
Same. I've also had the IRS lose a mailed-in return, so that's frustrating as well. Does anyone know if there is data somewhere on what percentage of returns were e-filed by year?

-janet

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Re: Mail or E-File Tax Returns - TFB comments

Post by grabiner » Mon Mar 26, 2012 8:44 pm

In both 2010 and 2011, I e-filed my Federal return but mailed my NJ state return because I had to override a calculation to get around a bug, and TaxACT would not let me e-file with an override.

I would prefer to e-file because it reduces the risk that something will go wrong. Back in 1990, NJ misread an entry on a paper state return (incorrectly reading that my withholding had been an estimated tax payment, and not crediting me the withholding which actually happened), and I didn't discover the error until NJ contacted me a year and a half later and said that I had filed but not paid my taxes, and now owed a penalty and interest. I filed the correction and received my very small refund as due.
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Re: Mail or E-File Tax Returns - TFB comments

Post by Flobes » Tue Mar 27, 2012 3:42 pm

E-filed federal via Fillable Forms: free.

However, IRS claims a program error in the Fillable Forms system caused the rejection of my IBond refund request.

E-filed state on Department of Revenue website: free. Refund ($48) in three days ACH to my bank.

Also e-filed amended 2010 on state website:free. Adjustment refund ($726 my big ooops!) in three days ACH to my bank.

BTW: I just e-filed my drivers license renewal for a $1.24 online service fee, which sure beats driving 30 miles and waiting two hours.

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Re: Mail or E-File Tax Returns - TFB comments

Post by joppy » Wed Mar 28, 2012 11:32 am

Thanks for all your comments. Interesting that (results till now show) only 6% of the people paper file for privacy reasons, but 20% paper file paper for other reasons. Two most common "other" reasons were related to price (not surprizing) and not being able to file electronically because of the complexity of returns.

A few interesting tidbits I learned were:
1. Tax software may send more information (e.g. tax worksheets) the IRS then you would in a paper filing.
2. Paper explanations are likely to get omitted in an electronic filing.
3. Paper is more likely to be mis-entered into the IRS computers by the IRS than electronic filing. (I would have thought the IRS would scan and OCR the paper returns, but it appears that they don't yet - based on a quick web search.)

- Joppy

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Re: Mail or E-File Tax Returns - TFB comments

Post by Bongleur » Thu Mar 29, 2012 6:15 am

Wondering what software my accountant uses to efile for me -- I presumed it would go directly to the IRS but wondering if he has bought some package that routes my info thru some company's server?
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Re: Mail or E-File Tax Returns - TFB comments

Post by nisiprius » Thu Mar 29, 2012 10:37 am

Although I have various feelings, I don't find this an area in which either security or points of principle override cost and convenience.

I feel that it's wrong that the IRS should require that send my personal data through a private company in order to e-file. If e-filing is saving money overall, I feel those savings ought to be shared with me.

For federal returns, the marginal cost of e-filing over paper is zero, so I e-file federal.

For state returns, the marginal cost of e-filing over paper is $19.95, so I use paper to file my state returns.

I am queasy about data security issues, and the more organizations that handle my data, the less secure I feel it is. I've used both Intuit and H&R Block and frankly I do not have a warm fuzzy feeling about either of 'em. Call Block because my state tax software seemed to be missing a form I needed, and the rep basically refused even to listen to my question until she'd gotten my personal information with social security number and checked the status of my e-filed federal tax refund, then told me, erroneously, that there was a problem (even though I had a DCN number). Wasted fifteen minutes determining that there was no problem. She then had to check with a supervisor about the missing form, and concluded breezily that she'd confirmed their state tax software does not, in fact, include the form for filing an amended return (!) but that she was happy to say I could download a printable copy of that form myself easy from the state's tax division website (!).

But, honestly, I'm not at all sure why I should care deeply if someone sees my dollar numbers. The personal information could be used for identity theft, but there's nothing on the tax forms that hasn't been exposed to electronic transmission dozens of times before, e.g. in online banking or brokerage accounts.
Last edited by nisiprius on Thu Mar 29, 2012 10:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness; Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.

NateW
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Re: Mail or E-File Tax Returns - TFB comments

Post by NateW » Thu Mar 29, 2012 10:39 am

I file by paper, via US mail. I am too much of a cheapskate to pay the fee to file on-line. My wife and I make too much to file for free.

--Nate

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GregLee
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Re: Mail or E-File Tax Returns - TFB comments

Post by GregLee » Thu Mar 29, 2012 10:54 am

I use paper, because (1) programs for efiling are for MS Windows, which I don't use, (2) efiling would cost me money, (3) I'm used to paper.
Greg, retired 8/10.

aida2003
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Re: Mail or E-File Tax Returns - TFB comments

Post by aida2003 » Thu Mar 29, 2012 1:04 pm

I couldn't e-file FREE fillable forms this year (it was fine for 2-3 years prior). I believe it's due to an additional question on the Sch.B that messed up programming or something that the IRS kept rejecting my electronic file because of the Sch.B. I hope it'll be fixed next year and I'll save $1.30 and my time to/at the post office :P

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Ted Valentine
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Re: Mail or E-File Tax Returns - TFB comments

Post by Ted Valentine » Fri Apr 13, 2012 11:48 am

boater07 wrote:Something else not mentioned so far. If your return requires any clarifications that are attached to the return--Don't efile.
I did IRA recharacterizations in 2 years with the explanatory statement attached to TT. Resulted in audit 4 years late.
IRS computer does "not" read explanations.
I sent a copy of the statement attached to the efiled return and all was well. The following year, I sent paper return with similar explanations and went thru smoothly
That happened to me also. I was scared at first when I got that unexpected IRS letter, but after sending the explanation it was all good.

I just finished using free fillable forms this year counter to tfb's concerns. tfb is almost always right. I hope I don't regret it. :happy
Although our intellect always longs for clarity and certainty, our nature often finds uncertainty fascinating.

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Toons
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Re: Mail or E-File Tax Returns - TFB comments

Post by Toons » Fri Apr 13, 2012 11:51 am

Efile both for many years,,last few with TaxAct 13.95,,,,Keep it Simple,save time :happy
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee

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Re: Mail or E-File Tax Returns - TFB comments

Post by scouter » Fri Apr 13, 2012 12:20 pm

I use TT and have e-filed for the last 3 years, but as I mentioned in another thread, last year our e-filing didn't report two sales of mutual funds which had been entered into the program and were clearly correct both in the program and on my printed copy. So we got an IRS notice claiming we owe $10k plus $2k in penalties and interest, and I end up having to send them the paper copy to clear it up. (both sales were losses)

So this year I still used TT, but printed out the return, checked it carefully, and mailed it in. Filing with paper also allows me to add supplemental clarification statements at the end to hopefully explain anything that the tax forms don't make clear.

For example, I have a Solo 401(k), based on self-employment earnings. I also have a SEP-IRA that my employer contributes to, based on my wages. Problem is there's only one line (28) to report either of these, and no way to clarify which one you're reporting. 2 years ago, they assumed that my 401(k) contribution was a SEP and sent me a notice that I had over-contributed. Many letters and over 100 pages of documentation later, it was all cleared up and they accepted it. Now I add that explanation (and others) on paper at the end of our return.

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