SAFE IN 60

Safe In 60: Why You Should File Your Taxes Online

Mar 9, 2020, 7:22 AM | Updated: 7:25 am

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Tax Day is fast approaching. If you’re not among the 85% of Americans who e-file, here are reasons you should consider it.

About 155 million tax returns are filed every year. Around 15% of those are still submitted through the mail. If you’re part of that group, this might be the year you want to do it differently.

Filing your taxes electronically is safer and faster.

If you’re expecting a refund (70% of Americans do), you’ll get that money in your bank account more quickly as well. And getting your refund through direct deposit lowers the risk of someone intercepting and cashing a check.

There is also less room for error if you e-file. If you submit a paper copy, it must be transferred into an electronic form, which adds another step for potential error. Filing online also provides you an electronic paper trail. There is no risk of the return getting lost in the mail.

Tax software programs have come a long way – most walk the user through simple step-by-step instructions and can catch common errors. They also answer questions along the way.

You can file your federal taxes online for free directly on the IRS’s website, and depending on your income, you may also qualify to use tax preparation software for free.

It’s also free to file your Utah state taxes online. The state also provides links to free and commercial tax filing resources.

If you don’t feel comfortable doing your taxes on your own, you can use hire a tax preparer. But do your homework beforehand for your own protection. Make sure it is someone that can be trusted.

You can check to see if your tax preparer is certified through the IRS. These are tax individuals who annually recertify and pass testing, and who are authorized to transmit information of other people. The list of authorized e-file providers can be searched by zip code and state.

Personal information, especially the information we provide in our taxes, should be guarded. If that information gets in the wrong hands your identity can be stolen.

Once you file your taxes, you should store tax documents in a safe and secure location for a minimum of three years, but you may need to provide documentation for up to seven years.

  • If kept in hard copy, put them in a locked drawer, desk or safe, or even a safe deposit box.
  • If kept electronically, always have a backup in case your computer crashes, and make sure those files are encrypted.

When you are ready to dispose the documents, shred them so they don’t get into the wrong hands.

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Safe In 60: Why You Should File Your Taxes Online