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The Resource Center Identity Theft & Protection | article

Filing Online May Make Tax Season Easier

For decades, the status of whether or not your taxes were filed on time was ultimately left in the hands of the U.S. Postal Service. Because of the strict April deadline, if your taxes weren't postmarked before the 15th and delivered soon after, you could face costly penalties even if the reason for the late submission was because of a slip-up at the post office.

Now you can file your federal taxes online and submit them to the IRS immediately after you have them completed. This has made filing substantially easier in many respects, although you have no one to blame but yourself if you don't file before the deadline.

The Internet helps eliminate the clutter
One of the best things about filing online is the fact that the amount of paperwork you have to look through is decreased substantially. Although you will still need to have your personal tax documents on hand, such as W-2s and various account statements, the pages of tax forms that you once had to fill out are now organized in an easy-to-read online file. And, while you may get confused and misplace a page here and there when dealing with paperwork, by filing online, you can usually go step by step through the process without missing a beat.

Many programs act as personal accountants
Depending on the program you use to file your taxes, there are generally instructional tools available to help you along the way. Without these online alerts, you may overlook certain areas of the tax form and miss out on a bigger refund. Instead, if you don't fill out certain information or don't realize that you qualify for a certain deduction, these programs are designed to troubleshoot the process for you. Whether you choose to file through the IRS website or pay for tax preparation software, either kind of program offers help that is invaluable if you choose to file taxes on your own.

By filing solo, the risk of theft could be decreased
If you opt out of having someone else file your taxes for you and do it yourself online, you may also be reducing your risk of identity theft. You never want to share documents that have sensitive information on them with strangers, and almost every file you use to prepare your taxes has info that could be used to steal your identity. Make sure that when you do file online, you only use a trusted program like the one provided by the IRS or other software recommended by tax professionals.