While the IRS and companies like TurboTax have made a definitive push toward e-filing, it's not impossible to file on paper.
E-filing does have several advantages: getting your refund faster, receiving confirmation of receipt from the IRS, security, flexibility, and ease. But there are still some who prefer to file on paper. Some feel that filing on paper is familiar and therefore easier for them and that it's more comprehensive than answering questions in tax software. They also feel it is easier to review for errors on paper and compare a new return to previous ones. You can also easily make copies of your return for anything you might need in the future, for example, a financial institution may ask for a copy of your most recent tax return when you apply for a loan or home mortgage.
And e-filing does have some limitations. You have to file on paper if:
- You're married, but filing a separate return, and you live in a community property state
- You're claiming a dependent who has already been claimed by someone else
- You're submitting a tax form that cannot be electronically filed
- You're filing before e-file begins or after e-file ends
If for whatever reason, you insist on filing on paper, follow these guides:
- Make sure your return is simple. Returns that only claim a standard deduction or do not itemize are considered simple returns. Someone who owns their own business would have a much more complicated tax return than a non-business owner. Since the IRS manually retypes all the information on your paper return, you want to make sure it's a simple one to avoid costly errors.
- Review your return faithfully. You want to check that your Social Security Number and name are on every page, both front and back; review your math, because math errors are the number one reason why the IRS may reject a tax return; and lastly, double check your address is written down correctly as this is where the IRS will mail your refund, if you're moving use a PO box or another permanent address.
- Find your Service Center. Depending on what paperwork you're sending in, you may have to mail your return to a different Service Center. Find the right Service Center for your return is and mail it there.
• Mail your return yourself. Take the paperwork to the post office yourself or deposit your forms in a USPS collection box to help avoid mail theft.
- Send your tax payment with your return. If you own any taxes, you'll want to include your tax payment with your return. If you're mailing it close to April 15th, pay online or mail the check along with an extension form to avoid late payment penalties.
- And remember Identity Guard is committed to helping you not only protect yourself from identity theft, but also understand how it can happen. Count on us to get tips and advice to help guard against all sorts of identity related fraud, including tax fraud.