Federal Income Tax Filing Methods

Federal Income Tax Filing Methods

Once you have your income tax return prepared and ready to file with the IRS, there are several methods for you to choose from on how to file them. All of these methods have the same end result, processing of your return by the IRS, so do what is simplest and most convenient for you.

Mail. If you wish to submit your tax return via the U.S. Postal Service, simply find an appropriately sized envelope and address it to your regional IRS service center. If you received a tax package from the IRS, the address (and usually the envelope) will be included. If you did not receive a tax package, the address can be located in the IRS Publication 17-Your Federal Income Tax. If you do decide to submit you tax return by mail, make sure you affix the appropriate postage. This is an extremely common error, so it is usually a good idea to mail the return from a local post office where it can be weighed and postage correctly calculated.

Online. Filing online (also known as electronic filing or e-filing) is increasing in popularity due to the rapidity of turn around time. E-Filing increases the rapidity with which you receive your tax refund (some times in half the time as paper filers) which is the main benefit of this method. You can have your tax preparer file online, or do it yourself. For a list of service providers of this method of tax filing, you can visit the IRS website. While some offer this service for free, others will charge for it. Make sure you investigate enough to be both comfortable with the service and aware of the fees.

In Person. You can take your prepared tax return to a tax preparer's office, (even if you do not have them prepare the return themselves). A tax preparation firm, a CPA or an enrolled agent can all submit your tax return to the IRS, so it is purely personal choice. Be aware that some tax preparation firms and preparers require appointments, while others accept walk-in clients. It is recommended that you call beforehand. If you take your tax return to a tax preparer, they will first double-check it, and then file it for you, either via the U.S. Postal Service or online.

Software. Various software programs, such as the H&R Block tax software, TaxCut, will offer the option of filing your taxes through their software. Generally taxpayers who select this option will be using this software to prepare their taxes as well.

Telephone Filing. Formerly known as the IRS Telefile tax return filing program, this service has been discontinued as of the 2006 tax return year.


Article written by: Letty G.

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