Top Frequently Asked Questions for Electronic Filing (e-file)

What software is approved for IRS e-file?

Answer:

The IRS has partnered with many companies to provide electronic filing to the public. However, the IRS doesn't endorse or approve any particular software for IRS e-file.

To learn more, see E-File Options for Individuals or Electronic Filing Options for Business and Self-Employed Taxpayers.

Additional Information:

We'll be filing an original joint 1040 series tax return. Can we file our return electronically?

Answer:

Yes, you can file an original 1040 series tax return electronically using any filing status.

Filing your return electronically is faster, safer and more accurate than mailing your tax return because it's transmitted electronically to the IRS computer systems.

Additional Information:

I filed electronically and my tax return was rejected. What do I do now?

Answer:

There must be an error on your tax return. Please review the following:

  • You should receive an explanation of why your return was rejected.
  • If you made a mistake in entering a social security number, a payer's identification number, omitted a form, or misspelled a name, you can correct these errors and electronically file your tax return again.
  • Unfortunately, there are other errors that will cause you to have to file your return by mail.
  • If you have further questions, call us toll-free at 800-829-1040.
  • For general information about e-file, refer to E-File Options for Individuals.

Additional Information:

My electronic tax return keeps getting rejected because a dependent's social security number is used more than once on one return or is used on another return. What should I do?

Answer:

If you have verified the SSNs for all your dependents with the Social Security Administration and no one else is authorized to claim them, the following scenario probably applies to you:

  • The SSN in question also appears with a claim for a personal or dependent exemption or a credit on another tax return for this same year.
  • Whether the cause of this rejection is the result of a typo on another return or an attempt by another party to claim an exemption or credit using your dependent's SSN, the IRS has security measures in place to ensure the accuracy of returns submitted.
  • The IRS will, in some cases, contact taxpayers using the same SSN to claim an exemption or credit and ask them to reconsider their eligibility or to provide supporting documentation.
  • If you've verified this dependent's SSN and found no errors, unfortunately you need to file a paper return.
  • Don't attach any information or documents with your return proving your eligibility to claim a dependent; if needed, the IRS will contact you by mail for any supporting documentation.

Additional Information:

I don't owe taxes. Can I file electronically after April 15?

Answer:

Yes, electronically filed tax returns are accepted until November. During 2016, the cutoff date was November 30. For the yearly cutoff date announcement, see the October QuickAlerts Library. However, keep in mind the following:

  • If April 15 doesn't fall on a weekend or legal holiday, you must file Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, on or before April 15 for your return to be considered timely if filed after April 15.
  • If April 15 falls on a weekend or legal holiday, you have until midnight the next business day following April 15 to timely file either Form 4868 or your tax return.
  • If you timely file Form 4868, you have until October 15 to timely file your return. If October 15 falls on a weekend or legal holiday, you have until midnight the next business day following October 15 to timely file your tax return.
  • If you have a balance due and don't timely file Form 4868, you may be subject to a failure to file penalty if you file your return after April 15 (or after the next business day following April 15, if April 15 falls on a weekend or legal holiday).
If I file electronically, what do I do with my Forms W-2?

Answer:

You'll use the information from your Forms W-2 to complete your tax return. After filing, retain a copy of the forms for your records. When filing electronically:

  • You must provide a copy of your Forms W-2 to the authorized IRS e-file provider before the provider sends the electronic return to the IRS.
  • You don't need to send your Forms W-2 to the IRS and should keep them in a safe place with a copy of your tax return.
  • Use Form 8453, U.S. Individual Income Tax Transmittal for an IRS e-File Return, to submit any paper documents that need to be sent after your return has been accepted electronically. Don't use this form to send your Forms W-2.

For general information about e-file, refer to E-File Options for Individuals.

Additional Information:

Frequently Asked Question Subcategories for Electronic Filing (e-file)