Prepare and File Your Taxes Electronically

Notice: Historical Content

This is an archival or historical document and may not reflect current law, policies or procedures.

IRS Tax Tip 2011-10, January 14, 2011

IRS e-file: It’s safe. It’s easy. It’s time. IRS e-file is now the norm; not the exception. The number of e-filed Form 1040 tax returns is approaching 1 billion after 20 years of safe, secure service. In 2010, 99 million people – 70 percent of all individual taxpayers – used IRS e-file to electronically transmit their tax returns to the IRS. It’s safe, it’s easy to use and it’s time for you to try it.

The 2011 tax season will mark a significant change for both tax preparers and taxpayers. Starting January 1, many tax return preparers must be authorized IRS e-file providers so they can transmit tax returns electronically. The requirement does not apply to volunteer tax preparers. More information for paid preparers is available at

For taxpayers, this means it’s time to give e-file a try. The number of people who use a paper tax return or who mail a tax return dwindles each year – and for good reason.

An e-filed tax return is safe and secure. The taxpayer receives an acknowledgement within 48 hours that that IRS has received the return. If the IRS rejects the return, the receipt will explain why so the return can be quickly corrected and resubmitted.

Faster Refunds; Greater Payment Options

An e-filed tax return means a fast refund. Taxpayers who combine e-file and direct deposit can get their refunds in as few as 10 days. Nearly 75 percent of all taxpayers receive a refund and last year the average refund was approximately $2,900.

An e-filed tax return means more payment options. Taxpayers can file early and set an automatic payment withdrawal date for any date on or before the April due date. Some taxpayers may like to pay by paper check. And, they still can by mailing a check with a voucher. Taxpayers can even pay by credit card.

Get It Done with e-file

Using e-file is easy. You can e-file through your tax preparer, through commercial tax preparation software or through Free File, the free tax preparation and e-filing service available exclusively at

The number of people preparing their tax returns on their personal computers is growing tremendously. Software – such as that offered through Free File – guides people through a step-by-step question-and-answer process. So whether you do it yourself or have it done, just get it done with e-file.






Subscribe to Tax Tips