Pls tell me about electronic filing


J

joeu2004

Please tell me all about electronic filing. I haven't been paying any
attention.

What factors should I consider in choosing between filing
electronically and mailing a paper return?

For example, can I file electronically directly to the IRS and Calif
FTB? Or must I rely on an intermediary?

If the latter, does that mean that my personal data are stored a non-
government third-party computer?

I usually use Turbo Tax to prepare both fed and Calif personal tax
returns. Does it cost extra to file electronically?

Are there circumstances when I should not or cannot file
electronically?

My fed tax return is fairly simple: just Sched A, B, and D. But I
usually include an attachment to explain how the investment advisory
fee miscellaneous deduction is derived, specifically the %fees
attributable to taxable investment income and IRAs.

How do I handle the attachment if I file electronically?

My Calif tax return is simpler. I qualify for Form 540, but I include
only Sched CA and D.
 
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B

Bob Sandler

Please tell me all about electronic filing. I haven't been paying any
attention.

What factors should I consider in choosing between filing
electronically and mailing a paper return?

For example, can I file electronically directly to the IRS and Calif
FTB? Or must I rely on an intermediary?
You have to use an intermediary. If you use TurboTax, Intuit
(the company that makes TurboTax) is the intermediary.
If the latter, does that mean that my personal data are stored a non-
government third-party computer?
Not necessarily. If you use desktop TurboTax (installed on
your computer), TurboTax does not retain any information
from your e-filed return. If you use TurboTax Online, your
tax return data is stored on TurboTax's servers, regardless
of whether you e-file or file by mail.
I usually use Turbo Tax to prepare both fed and Calif personal tax
returns. Does it cost extra to file electronically?
With TurboTax, there is no extra charge to e-file your
federal return. If you use TurboTax Online, there is no
extra charge to e-file your state return. If you use desktop
TurboTax, there is an additional fee for state e-filing.
Are there circumstances when I should not or cannot file
electronically?
If you are claiming the first-time homebuyer credit you have
to file by mail in order to include the documentation that
is required to support the credit.

Sometimes there are glitches that prevent you from e-filing.
Some examples are social security number conflicts, name
matching errors, and errors in matching the previous year's
AGI. These could be caused by errors you make, by errors in
the IRS's files, or by a third party. There are also many
kinds of errors that will cause your e-filed return to be
rejected. Most of these are errors in what you entered.
Generally, in all these cases, if one attempt to correct the
error doesn't work, you should give up and file by mail.

There are limits on the number of copies of certain forms
that can be e-filed, and some forms cannot be e-filed at
all. With the simple return than you describe, you are not
likely to hit any of these limits.
My fed tax return is fairly simple: just Sched A, B, and D. But I
usually include an attachment to explain how the investment advisory
fee miscellaneous deduction is derived, specifically the %fees
attributable to taxable investment income and IRAs.

How do I handle the attachment if I file electronically?
You could just omit the attachment. Probably no one ever
looks at it anyway.


- Bob Sandler
 
M

Mark Bole

Please tell me all about electronic filing. I haven't been paying any
attention.
[...] does that mean that my personal data are stored a non-
government third-party computer?
Not necessarily. If you use desktop TurboTax (installed on
your computer), TurboTax does not retain any information
from your e-filed return.
That's a pretty bold statement. Is there any support for this? I
naturally assume they make journal backups (every transaction is written
to back-up before it is committed).

I believe other ERO's, not just Turbotax, will also store the return
info. Otherwise, how could they deal with rejects?

-Mark Bole
 
D

Don Priebe

I believe other ERO's, not just Turbotax, will also store the return info.
Otherwise, how could they deal with rejects?
Pub 1345 (page 30) requires that the ERO retain a complete copy of the
electronic return until the end of the calendar year.
 
R

rick++

You have to use an intermediary. If you use TurboTax, Intuit
(the company that makes TurboTax) is the intermediary.
That has not been true for three years.
The Free File Fillable Forms program does not really have an
intermediary,
save whomever the contractor who maintains the site for the IRS.
That site is pretty bare bones. The FFFF site displays each tax form
in the appearance of the printed form. You type in the numbers and it
calculates
any lines that need arithmetic. It also crosslinks to the appropriate
form,
should a line call for it. Then you can click efile for free when
done.
Should you owe money you have to set up a separate electronic
funds transfer account to pay it.

But you have know your way around the forms
pretty well so you dont overlook a tax, deduction, or rebate.
The commercial software sites like TurboTax are organized in topical
order, e.g. income, deductions, etc. That will help make sure you
fill all
necessary forms. TT will calculate AMT and penalty forms in the
background
and tell you whether you need to file them or not.
 
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J

Jeremy S. Nichols

With TurboTax, there is no extra charge to e-file your
federal return. If you use TurboTax Online, there is no
extra charge to e-file your state return. If you use desktop
TurboTax, there is an additional fee for state e-filing.
Another way to look at this is: with Turbotax you pay for e-filing whether
you do it or not. When TT went to no-extra-charge e-filing they increased
the price of the product by the amount they formerly charged to e-file. [Fed
only - state was and is extra-charge. ]
 
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