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Electronic Filing Makes Tax Season Less Taxing

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RALEIGH — If you don't want to use paper forms to file your taxes this year, you can save time and get your refund quicker by filing electronically. Nineteen million of us filed electronically last year. That number is expected to increase this year with an expanded electronic filing system from the Internal Revenue Service. WRAL OnLine reporter Tom Lawrence checked out "e-file", the newest way to file.

Nearly 3.5 million people in North Carolina will file federal returns. More than 20% of them are expected to file electronically. It can be done one your personal computer, by telephone or by having a commercial tax preparer do your taxes and file them for you. The idea is to save time and, if you're due a refund, getting it quicker.

No one likes doing taxes. Going through everything line-by-line, entering, doing the math. Withe-filetheIRSis moving quickly toward less painful electronic filing. Last year 19 million taxpayers filed electronically with 99% accuracy! e-filegives commercial tax preparers quick proof-of-receipt."The IRS lets me know within 48 hours if there's a problem with the tax return. If there's a problem, I turn around, correct it and re-submit it."Commercially available tax software programs make tax preparation "almost" fun. You answer questions, enter information and the computer does the math! Several programs offere-filefree this year.

If you do file electronically, you will not get a federal tax package next year."You will get a small card in the mail telling you how to get forms if your need them. But we'll send the actually fax form packages only to individuals who file their own returns."

With a completed return you can also file by phone. Tele-File guides you through the process. The big bonus: if you are due a refund you get it quicker -- especially if you have it direct deposited to your bank.

You'll find more than 600 federal forms available on the Internet this year.

You can also find North Carolina tax forms on the Internet and you can file you state return electronically. You may have to pay a fee for the service, but it could be worth it.