E-Filing Advantages and Tax Return Headaches for Self-Filers


E-Filing Advantages and Tax Return Headaches for Self-Filers

by | 52 Tax Tips and Weekly Financial Blog




All paid preparers who prepare more than 10 tax returns for compensation are required to file the returns via e-file, except for few options. And you can now e-file your return all year long, rather than stopping on October 15; like in past years. Now we are able to e-file tax returns from 2012 forward, all year long. If you prepare your own individual tax, you can choose to e-file the return or mail in a paper copy. Some of the tax returns that professional tax preparers complete still require a paper copy of the return to be mailed into the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

For instance, if you have an Adoption Credit, or are sending in amended tax returns, or past year tax returns older than 2012, your return must be mailed in. If you are divorced, and claim the Child Tax Credit and then find out that your ex-spouse claimed the child and filed their return first, you will need to send in a hard copy of your return with a copy of your Divorce Decree. This is the only way to prove that you have the right to claim the child as a dependent, and possibly receive tax credits. These are some of the reasons why you would still have to file your tax return via postal service. All others (with few exceptions) are sent electronically. This is the preferred method of filing for the IRS. 

E-filing your tax return provides many benefits to you:

  • You can save a copy of your tax return on a flash drive or hard drive, creating less paper for you to keep track of.


  • Once you e-file your tax return the IRS will respond to you via email within 48 hours, to let you know that your tax return was received and that it is accurate (math only) and complete (correct social security numbers). The IRS even tells you if something needs to be corrected and re-submitted.


  • You will also be able to check the refund status of your e-filed tax return.


  • E-filing your tax return also means you will receive any refund quicker. Taxpayers that e-filed their tax returns, and used direct deposit, have received their refund within as little as 10 days.


  • You can also decide if you want to pay your tax with a credit card or an electronic debit from your checking account.


  • Sending your return using e-file is faster, easier to track, and allows for a quicker refund.

Tax Return Heartache for Self-Filers

Even Dave Ramsey says not to do your own taxes. Here’s why:

In a survey of 2,000 taxpayers it was we found that people who file their own taxes get an average refund of $1,824. That’s not bad, right? Well, get ready for a heartbreaker. People who worked with a tax professional to file their taxes received an average refund of $2,615! That’s $840 more than the average self-filer!

There are plenty of reasons why working with a pro can result in a higher refund, but it mostly boils down to tax know-how. An experienced tax professional can keep you from making the mistakes that cost millions of taxpayers nearly $1 billion in overpaid taxes every year.

The benefits of working with a professional aren’t all about the size of your refund check. You’ll save yourself the 13 hours the average self-filer spends researching the tax code, gathering documents, and filling out forms by having trusted professional do it for you.

What to Look for in a Tax Professional?

To find a true tax professional, you’ll need to look a little further than the national tax preparation service chains. Those folks are trained to help you fill out your forms correctly, but they aren’t experts in the tax code.

Look for a Certified Public Accountant or Enrolled Agent. These folks are experts in tax preparation and tax planning. That means they can help you save on taxes this year and show you how to save money on your taxes in the future. They can also represent you if you’re audited by the IRS.

Maximize Your Refund Today and Keep Your Money Tomorrow

Now let’s talk about the fact that you’re getting a refund in the first place. While it may feel like a bonus, an income tax refund is simply Uncle Sam returning your own money to you. Wouldn’t it be better to keep that money in your pocket all year long?

If the average taxpayer who uses a pro gets back $2,600, that’s more than $200 a month that could go toward paying off debtbuilding an emergency fund, or investing for the future! A tax expert can help you whittle down your refund so you can put that money to more productive uses this year.

Tax season is in full swing, so finding a qualified, trustworthy tax expert will only get more difficult between now and April 15. It’s a good idea to call ahead and make an appointment as soon as you can. 

Call today, don’t delay! See how this affects you. We can be reached at 602-264-9331 and on all social media under azmoneyguy.




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Mr. Hockensmith has been a guest newscaster for national and local TV stations in Phoenix since 1995, broadcasting financial and tax topics to the general pubic. He has written tax and accounting articles for both national and local newspapers and professional journals. He has been a public speaker nationally and locally on tax, accounting, financial planning and economics since 1992. He was a Disaster Reservist at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, for many years after his military service. He served as a Colonel with the US Army, retiring from military service after 36 years in 2008. Early in his accounting career, he was a Accountant and Consultant with Arthur Andersen CPA’s and Ernst & Young CPA’s.

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