Starting January first, you start to notice the advertising everywhere: TV, radio, Internet, newspapers, billboards, flyers, you name it. Tax time is upon us and the advertising blitz will continue at least until tax day, and then keep going a couple weeks later for the late filers. The picture is not radically different from what it was a few years ago, except that the preference seems to go towards online tax returns preparation.

In reality, online tax preparation is not really new. Many tax professionals have been using this exact method for two decades now. The difference is that it was used by professionals, and now thanks to the Internet it’s available to everyone. Online tax preparation and filing has evolved to meet the needs of individuals and businesses alike.

This method is so popular because it offers advantages that regular filing can’t match. Let’s review them.

  1. You save time and money. The money saving part is obvious. Tax filing software costs a fraction of what a professional would charge you. Even better, there are free options available. As for saving time, you simply type your information instead of filling it out manually. Plus, in case you make a mistake, it’s so much simpler to correct it on a screen than it is to re-fill a form!

Another time-saving feature of electronic filing is the fact that you will receive your refund faster. You can even go totally paperless and have your refund deposited in your bank account. This is a win-win situation: a win for you (you get your money faster) and a win for the IRS (less paperwork, less employee expenses). More details here:

  1. Convenience. No longer do you have to bring documentation to a tax preparer, or physically have to go mail in your tax returns. No matter the time when it’s convenient for you, whether you are at home or at the office, you can file your return as long as there’s an Internet connection available to you.
  2. Error spotting and correction. E-filing reduces the risk of error in two ways. First of all, as you’re entering your information, there are built-in error check features that verify the accuracy of your input, and there’s no guesswork as to what applies to what. Secondly, when you mail your return, someone at the IRS has to enter it into their database. There’s a risk of error there, that’s eliminated when you e-file because the information is already in electronic form.
  3. Maximum deductions. Tax filing software is updated continuously to reflect changes in tax law. The programs incorporate deduction search tools that essentially eliminate the need for you to worry about and keep track of which credits and/or deductions are applicable to you. Via the questions the software asks you and the other information you enter, the program tells you exactly what applies to your situation, which ensures that you get the highest refund that you qualify for.Filing taxes online makes tax preparation much quicker and easier.