Guest Author - Kate Woods
Consider if you will the following scenario regarding a Vampire, the IRS and a tax return. While it is highly imaginative and unlikely since we can’t unequivocally verify or deny the existence of Vampires, we know for certain that there are penalties for failure to file your federal tax returns and if you don’t file you will almost certainly end up speaking to someone employed by the IRS. While I’m sure this is not a typical conversation related to failure to file, and I’ll admit I’m taking creative liberty with my example it makes an excellent case for considering E-filing your future tax returns.
Let’s conference into this imaginary call in progress and eavesdrop. “That’s right Mr. IRS TaxMan, a Vampire swooped in through my window and ate my tax return. I guess he had thought that the IRS were bloodsuckers and that he’d beat them at their game and suck up the life-blood from my return before the IRS did. I must admit he didn’t look terribly satisfied afterwards but none the less, I was unable to mail my return to you timely since he ate it.”
“I suppose you were one of those students who always had a hungry dog who ate your homework as well, Ms. You’re A. BigLiar.”
“Wow, you must really be smarter than the average guy to be so intuitive and perceptive. I can’t imagine how you would know that?”
“Well thank you so much for that back-handed compliment Ms. BigLiar, but since your tax return was not filed on time,unfortunately late penalties will be applied and if you have a balance due there will also be interest charges accruing and growing larger daily until the return is filed and the taxes due are paid in full. But for future reference Ms. BigLiar you could have avoided all of this difficulty if you would have E-filed your return. I don’t think that even a bloodsucking Vampire would have found a computer file accessible or appetizing.”
“That’s probably a good suggestion Mr. TaxMan. But I don’t have any idea how to E-file my return. Can you please give me some guidance for future reference?”
“I’d be happy to help you with that. Let me point out the E-filing options. First, if you have an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of $52,000 or less you are eligible for free E-filing through a partnership between the IRS and the Free File Alliance, LLC, a group of private sector tax software companies. To take advantage of this program go to irs.gov and click on the Free File link that’s available throughout each filing season and follow the instructions.”
“What if I earn more than that Mr. TaxMan, then how do I E-file my return? I don’t want to experience any more visits from swooping Vampires.”
“Of course that’s understandable Ms. BigLiar. If you have a computer with a modem and internet access there are several other options. You can go to commercially sponsored tax preparation websites and complete and do your return online although in most cases there is a fee for the use of this option. You can also purchase tax preparation commercial software to install on your computer and prepare and E-file your return entirely on your computer. Each January there is a list posted on irs.gov of IRS tested and approved software.”
“But that all sounds so complicated and after the experience I just had this year with the Vampire I’m not sure I want to prepare my own tax return. I already did it once and now I have to do it all again. Maybe I should just take all my information to a professional tax preparer and let them handle all these details.”
“Of course you also have that option. To find a tax professional that offers IRS E-file, you can go to irs.gov and search Authorized IRS E-file Provider Locator Service and search by zip code to locate someone local or go to the E-file Provider page for listings. Now the good thing about using any of the options I’ve outlined is that you will receive an electronic acknowledgement as proof of timely filing and you won’t find yourself in this position again dealing with failure to file issues.”
“Well, Mr. TaxMan, that sounds like the way to go in the future. In the meantime I’d better get to work on the re-creation of my past due return and getting it submitted. I guess I’m lucky that the Vampire that ate my tax return didn’t have an appetite for my original documents and that I have my info all summarized in Quickbooks on my computer. At least I still have what I need to do a do-over. Thanks for your assistance Mr. TaxMan. And by the way, you might want to tell the music on hold department that some nice New Age selections would go a long way toward making the process of calling you folks more palatable. It’s been great chatting. Have a terrific day.”
Is this story strange but true, or purely fiction? Of course we know that it’s fiction but it does point out excellent reasons to E-file your future returns as well as the E-filing options that are available.
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