The April 15 phenomenon of USPS employees waiting at the curb in urban areas to collect late filers’ tax return up until midnight is outmoded. Some taxpayers learned that the hard way when they attempted to mail tax returns and payments after-hours and found no one waiting for them. Their last minute filings cost them in penalties and interest now that the USPS has reduced hours in response to consumers’ preference for digital communications.
According to the IRS, 80% of taxpayers are turning from paper filing to online filing and payment. They “used a variety of software products to prepare and e-file their own returns. However, the IRS reminds people that they can prepare and e-file their federal tax returns online for free through Free File at IRS.gov. Free File has an option for almost everyone, either through brand-name software or online fillable forms.” That is 10 million fewer taxpayers slipping their tax returns inside a USPS mailbox or the hands of a postal worker at one of the agency’s many retail windows.
The Free File program is a public-private partnership between the IRS and the Free File Alliance, LLC. The Alliance is a consortium of 14 leading tax software providers who make their products available exclusively at IRS.gov. All Free File members meet security requirements and use the latest in encryption technology to protect taxpayer information. The free service generally works for those households with an adjusted gross income of $60,000.
According to data reported just prior to this year’s Tax Day, Tennessee leads the country in online tax filing with “more electronic federal income tax returns per capita than any other state in the nation.