E-file is a system for submitting tax documents to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service through the internet or direct connection, usually without the need to submit any paper documents. Tax preparation software with e-filing capabilities are available as stand alone programs or through websites or tax professionals from major software vendors for commercial use.
Of the 139.3 million U.S. returns filed in 2007, 79.98 million (or about 57.4 percent) were filed electronically. In 2010, a total of 129.3 million U.S. returns were filed, and 93.4 million were filed electronically. Thus, the percentage of returns filed electronically increased to 72.3 percent of total returns.
Taxpayers can e-file for free using the IRS Free File service, either using an authorized IRS e-file provider's tax software product, if eligible, or by using online fillable forms.
The IRS started electronic filing in 1986 to lower operating costs and paper usage. E-filing originally used the processing system developed in 1969 by the IRS but, since 2003, the IRS has been developing a new enhanced processing system called CADE.
Types of e-File providers
The IRS accepts electronic submission of a variety of Tax Forms using their IRS Authorized e-file Providers.
Individuals have the option of both free and paid tax software. IRS
Businesses and self-employed tax-payers have a variety of e-file services available depending on their individual needs. IRS
Tax-exempt organization returns
Tax Exempt Organizations may file the annual information return IRS Form 990, Form 990-EZ and Form 990-N with a variety of independent tax software providers. IRS
- Electronic Tax Administration Advisory Committee
- Electronic tax records
- Free File Alliance
- Refund anticipation loan
- Modernized e-File
- "Another record-breaking number of taxpayers choose to electronically file in 2007, Internal Revenue Service, November 7, 2007
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