Over the last few years, there have been several incentives, or even requirements, provided by the IRS and state governments to encourage tax filers to file their returns electronically. Statistics show the percentage of e-filers is on the rise. With tax return deadlines right around the corner, we want to share our thoughts on the questions we receive most often from clients about e-filing.
Top 5 questions I am asked about e-Filing:
#5 Do I have to e-file?
No. The IRS does not currently require any tax return to return4refund be e-filed, however several states have implemented this requirement. In the past, the state has sent a “reminder” notice that future returns should be e-filed, but have warned that paper returns filed in the future will either be rejected or subject to a penalty. This most likely means that e-filing state income tax returns in these states will be mandatory, and we can anticipate that other states will add similar requirements.
#4 Do I have to provide my bank account information?
No. The only time your bank account information needs to be provided is if you would like your refund directly deposited into your bank account, or if you would like your payment directly drafted from your bank account. If you are hesitant to provide your bank account information to government agencies, you can receive your refund by check or if you owe, you can make your payment by mailing in a check.
#3 How long does it take to e-file?
Usually a return is accepted by the IRS or state within a few business days of the return being submitted. The acceptance provides confirmation that the return has been timely filed.
#2 If I owe with my return, is the payment due when my return is e-filed?
E-filing the return before the due date does not accelerate the due date of taxes. Payments can still be remitted separately any time before the due date of the return, even if the e-file is processed earlier.
Consider the following strategy. If you are due a refund on your state return, but owe on your federal return, then e-file both returns early. You could receive your state refund in time to use it towards your federal payment due. The same holds true if you owe on your state return and are due a refund on your federal return.
#1 Why should I e-file?
Here are a few reasons to e-file:
The risk of a return being lost in the mail or misplaced is minimized. Usually a taxpayer is not notified of a missing return until months or even years later. When a return is e-filed, confirmation of acceptance (receipt) by the IRS or state is provided within a few business days.
Paper filed returns are manually entered into the government’s system, meaning that an input error could trigger a tax notice.
Part of the e-filing acceptance process used by the IRS and state governments includes a “pre-check” of certain items. In order for an e-filing to be accepted, these items must be correct. This greatly minimizes the chance of receiving a tax notice.
Returns are processed more quickly; if you are due a refund, it will be sent sooner.
Tom Wheelwright is not only the founder and CEO of Provision, but he is the creative force behind Provision Wealth Strategists. In addition to his management responsibilities, Tom likes to coach clients on wealth, business, and tax strategies. Along with his frequent seminars on these strategies, Tom is an adjunct professor in the Masters of Tax program at Arizona State University. For more information, visit