Filing taxes is a chore many people put off. Some don't want to find out how much they owe the government while others find the process of preparing and filing their taxes boring, time consuming and often confusing. About the only beneficial thing about filing taxes is the fact that the government provides a variety of ways for Americans to file their taxes.
E-filing is extremely popular today as the growth and expansion of the internet has made filing taxes easy and convenient. This option first appeared to Americans in 1985, and it allowed them to figure their taxes, file their return and pay anything they owed online from the convenience of their home or office. While this inaugural year had only 25,000 people preparing and filing their tax returns in this manner, e-filing has now become the most popular method with more than 50 percent of Americans choosing this option as opposed to others.
Many people find it beneficial to e-file since they don't have to leave the comfort of their home to drive to the post office. Others like the fact that the computer calculates and fills in many of the blanks based on a person's response to a question. Also beneficial is the fact that errors are less likely to occur when people use tax software programs and e-filing to prepare their tax returns and get them filed. In fact one study found that 17% of tax returns that were mailed in had mistakes while only 3% of tax returns filed online contained errors.
While more and more Americans may be switching to preparing and filing their taxes online, the option to prepare your taxes by hand and mail them to the Internal Revenue Service still exists. Not all Americans have internet access, so it's important that the government still allows paper forms through the mail to ensure everyone has the opportunity to pay their taxes on time and not be subjected to fines or jail time simply because they don't have internet access.
Others choose to use paper forms and traditional postal mail because they are uncomfortable with the safety and security of the internet. Submitting personal financial and identification information such as social security numbers across the internet makes some people uncomfortable since there is the potential for this data to become compromised and viewed by outside people not associated with the Internal Revenue Service.
A third option exists for individuals who want the ease and convenience provided by the internet but don't feel comfortable operating computers themselves. Many tax professionals will help clients prepare and submit their tax return online making it possible for the individual to simply provide the professional with their financial information and watch while they input it into the computer and submit it online to the IRS via e-filing.
Although you may have wondered how most Americans file their tax returns, you now know that the majority choose to file them with the government online. In fact the number of individuals choosing this method is only expected to increase in coming years since younger generations who are entering the workforce are more skilled and comfortable using technology to complete tasks such as preparing and filing their taxes.