Weatherford Democrat

Lifestyles

January 11, 2008

E-file starts today, more Texans choose it over paper filing

DALLAS — Most taxpayers may file their 2007 tax returns electronically beginning Jan. 11 as the Internal Revenue Service opens the e-file program.

Before you get started, be sure to watch for some tax credits you may be qualified to request and for some law changes which could affect your tax return.

The IRS is sending 16.5 million 1040 tax packages to taxpayers this month who have filed paper tax returns in the past. The number of paper packages has dropped rapidly in recent years, falling from 34 million packages in just four years. The paper packages are becoming much less common as the popularity of electronic filing soars.

Taxpayers can file their returns electronically (e-file) one of three ways: through their tax preparer, through over-the-counter software or through IRS Free File.

IRS Free File is a partnership between the IRS and a consortium of tax software manufacturers who offer free software and free electronic filing to taxpayers who meet certain criteria. For 2008, taxpayers who earned $54,000 or less will be eligible for Free File. Approximately 70 percent of all taxpayers, or 95 million people, will meet the income criteria. Taxpayers must access Free File through IRS.gov.

“E-filing is so convenient because you can stay warm inside your own home and do it from your personal computer day or night — no more getting out in the cold or juggling your schedule to find time to go to the post office. What’s more, e-file lets you get your refund in as little as ten days when you e-file and choose direct deposit,” said Clay Sanford, an IRS spokesman in Dallas.

Sanford said e-file is much more secure because there’s nothing to expect in the mailbox as refunds are electronically transferred directly into your checking or savings account. If you owe tax, the same safety measure applies because there is no need to write a check. With e-file, taxpayers can even file early and pay later by scheduling an electronic funds withdrawal to be debited on or before April 15, 2008. Also, refunds can now be split to go into separate accounts by using IRS Form 8888. Use Form 8888, for example, if you want some of your refund to go into checking and some into savings.

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