Last year, almost 62 percent of federal tax returns from Floridians were filed electronically. This year, the IRS pledges e-filing will be easier, faster in processing returns and, best of all, free for practically all taxpayers.
As part of an e-file expansion detailed by the IRS on Wednesday, taxpayers will be able to use a variety of software products available commercially. This year, several of them will not charge additional fees for e-filing for the first time.
"These are tough times, and e-file is the best way for people to get cash in their pocket quickly," IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said. "Filing electronically with direct deposit can get refunds to taxpayers in as few as 10 days. Combined with important changes in the Free File program, we believe e-file is a better option than ever before for the nation's taxpayers."
Free File, which is a form of e-file, is a free tax preparation and filing program developed through a partnership between the IRS and an alliance of tax software companies. Last year, it offered 20 different software options for taxpayers earning $56,000 or less to file their returns for free.
This year, comes a new option, Free File Fillable Tax Forms, which the IRS says opens up Free File to "virtually everyone, even those whose incomes exceed $56,000.''
E-filing has surged in popularity in recent years, accounting for 58 percent of the 90-million tax returns filed in 2008. Nearly 27-million people prepared their own e-file return, up 19 percent from the year prior.
The average refund last year was $2,429.
To get started, go to www.irs.gov/efile.