5 Tips for Tax Filing in the Digital Era
(BPT) - Filing taxes online has become more popular than ever.
In fact, the rate of individual tax returns filed online hit an all-time high of
80 percent last year, according to the IRS. But filing isn't the only step in
the process that can now be accomplished with the help of online tools. Use
digital technology to your advantage to make the complete process - from
organizing receipts to claiming your refund - quick and simple.
longer do consumers have to sort through stacks of paperwork or wait in long
lines at the post office during the dreaded tax season to successfully complete
the filing process," says Rebecca Smith, vice president of marketing for Master
Lock. "There are now a number of digital tools that not only make the tax
process faster and easier, but also offer increased security as they eliminate
the risks associated with hard-copy files of important or confidential
documents, such as checks or W-2 forms."
Follow these tips for a secure
and successful digital tax filing process:
1. Request electronic
copies of your tax forms. Many employers offer workers the option to
receive their W-2 forms electronically, instead of by mail. Eliminating the risk
of postal delays or missed deliveries ensures that your W-2 will be delivered
securely as soon as it is available. Plus, faster W-2s can mean faster tax
2. Securely store documents online. Avoid the mess
of a mound of paperwork by storing - and organizing - all your tax-related
documents online. A secure service such as the Master Lock Vault
(www.masterlockvault.com) ensures you'll have easy access to all your files
wherever you are and that none of your paper documents will ever be lost,
misplaced, stolen or damaged. Not only can you upload PDF forms, you also can
upload photos from your phone of important receipts and expenses for your
records. All data is instantly synchronized between the website and the
3. Think taxes year-round. Don't wait until you're
ready to file your taxes to start collecting and organizing the supporting
documents you'll need to complete your return. Avoid the scramble by capturing
and uploading a digital image of your receipt each time you pay the babysitter
or have a tax-deductible transaction, fill a prescription at the pharmacy or
make a charitable contribution such as dropping off a clothing donation to your
local thrift store.
4. Opt for direct deposit. If you've
done everything else online, why request a hard-copy check when it comes time to
claim your refund? When combined with electronic filing, direct deposit is the
fastest way to get your refund. If you're on the other side of the spectrum and
find that you owe taxes, opt to pay online and you can avoid the long tax-season
lines at the post office.
5. Call for help. Sometimes,
outside advice is necessary, and you can now get the help you need without
leaving home. Based on the complexity of your question, there are a variety of
resources to turn to. For example, the IRS offers a toll-free hotline for tax
questions during weekdays. Several tax-prep software providers also offer
guidance via online forums or on their social media feeds.