Michael P. Rudy and Associates - mrcpa.net

What is IRS e-file

Authorized IRS e-FilerIRS e-file is the fastest most accurate way to file your tax return electronically to the IRS using an Authorized IRS e-file Provider. You don’t have to worry about your return being lost or delayed in the mail. Upon receipt of the return information, the IRS quickly and automatically checks for errors or other missing information (the error rate for electronic returns is less than one percent compared to the error rate for paper returns which remains steady between 20 and 21 percent). Within 48 hours of electronic transmission, IRS acknowledges acceptance of the return. Only IRS e-file options provide this assurance.

Best of all, IRS e-file means fast refunds – in half the time as when filing on paper – even faster with Direct Deposit! IRS e-file… Click. Zip. Fast Round Trip!

Questions and Answers

Q. What is an “Authorized IRS e-file Provider”?
A. Tax professionals who are accepted into the electronic filing program are called “Authorized IRS e-file Providers.” They are the Electronic Return Originator (ERO) who transmits tax return information to the IRS. Look for the “Authorized IRS e-file Provider” logo.

 Q. How does IRS e-file work?
A. Your tax professional, prepares your tax return. In many cases, the tax professional is also the Electronic Return Originator (ERO) who is authorized to file your return electronically to the IRS. Ask your tax professional to file your return through IRS e-file.

You sign your electronic tax return by either using a Self-Select PIN for e-file for a completely paperless return, or by signing Form 8453. See ” If the return is electronic, how do I sign it?” for more information.

After you sign the return using a Self-Select PIN or Form 8453, the ERO transmits the return to the IRS or to a third-party transmitter who then forwards the entire electronic record to the IRS for processing. Once received at the IRS, the return is automatically checked by computers for errors and missing information. If it cannot be processed, it is sent back to the originating transmitter (usually the ERO) to clarify any necessary information. After correction, the transmitter retransmits the return to the IRS. Within 48 hours (two workdays) of transmission, the IRS sends an acknowledgment to the transmitter stating the return is accepted for processing. This is your proof of filing and assurance that the IRS has your return information. The Authorized IRS e-file Provider then sends Form 8453 to the IRS.

If due a refund, you can expect to receive it in approximately three weeks from the acknowledgment date – even faster with Direct Deposit (half the time as when filed on paper). If you owe tax, see “What if I owe Money?” for payment options available this year.

Q. How will I know that the IRS really has my return?
A. The IRS lets your tax professional know that it has received your return information within two workdays of transmission. If IRS detects any errors, it sends an error message to the transmitter to correct and retransmit the return to the IRS. Only IRS e-file options offer this advantage.

Q. If the return is electronic, how do I sign it?
A. The most convenient way for you to sign your electronic return is to use a self-selected Personal Identification Number (PIN) — and it’s completely paperless! If you do not choose to self-select a PIN, you simply sign the signature document, Form 8453, U.S. Individual Income Tax Declaration for an IRS e-file Return. If you are under the age of 16 and filing your first tax return or if your return contains a signature form required to be submitted to IRS, you must use Form 8453.

Q. How accurate is IRS e-file?
A. IRS e-file returns are virtually error-proof with an error rate of less than one percent as opposed to the error rate for paper returns which remains steady between 20 and 21 percent. IRS e-file greatly reduces the chance that you will get an error letter from the IRS.

Q. What if I owe money?
A. Your tax professional can file your return electronically any time during the filing season; however, sending the payment for a balance due by April 16 is still your responsibility. You may file electronically as soon as you are ready and will receive a confirmation from the IRS within 48 hours of receipt of your return. You may then pay your balance due to the IRS by check, direct debit (automatic withdrawal) directly from your bank, or by credit card. All balance due payments, regardless of method of payment, must be authorized or sent to the IRS by April 16 to avoid late payment penalties or interest charges.

To pay by check, make your check payable to the United States Treasury and mail it, along with the IRS payment voucher (Form 1040-V), to the address indicated on the voucher. For direct debit (automatic withdrawal), include your bank routing information and account number on the Form 1040 when you file electronically. You can designate the exact date (up to and including April 16) that you want the payment to be withdrawn (by the Department of Treasury financial agents) from either your checking or savings account at your bank. Credit card payments are available for filers who file through an Authorized IRS e-file Provider.

Q. Can I e-file my state return with my Federal return at the same time?
A. Yes. Federal/State e-file, an extension of IRS e-file, is offered in 37 states and the District of Columbia.

Q. Is there a fee for IRS e-file?
A. The IRS does not charge a fee for electronic filing. Authorized IRS e-file Providers (EROs) may charge a fee for providing this service. However, this fee cannot be based on any figure from the tax return. Fees vary depending upon the tax professional you choose and the specific services you request.