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E-filing Questions
Old 01-16-2021, 12:00 PM   #1
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E-filing Questions

Iíve always mailed in paper tax returns without any problems. This year, though, Iím considering e-filing due to all of the processing issues brought on by the pandemic.

I tried to find information on related websites, but didnít have much luck. So, Iím wondering if any of you folks that use TurboTax to e-file would briefly describe the process. Some things I wonder about:
  • Do you have to set up an account or accounts with the IRS and TurboTax first?
  • Does e-filing mean that TurboTax/Intuit has a copy somewhere on their servers? (That would kind of creep me out a bit)
  • Do you get a receipt that the return was accepted? Something to print out, I assume?
  • Also, do you e-file your state return? I believe this costs extra, how much?
Any additional thoughts and tips appreciated!
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Old 01-16-2021, 12:17 PM   #2
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If you're use to doing taxes by hand then you are likely a candidate to use free file at the IRS website. This is what I have been doing now for several years.
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Old 01-16-2021, 12:25 PM   #3
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I’m a long-time TurboTax e-filer. I use the version that I install the software on to my PC every year.

No, you do not need to first set up an account with anyone. There is no account used. You do enter all your identifying info into TT and they transmit it to the IRS when you click the buttons to submit your return.

TT stores your return data in a file on your own computer. I do not think they also store something on the TT servers, but I could be wrong. I trust them.

You will be given an opportunity to print a paper copy of your entire return and all worksheets. You can also save it all to a PDF file. I do both. You get a screen notice when you submit and they also send you an email. You will get another email when the IRS accepts the return. This is usually less than 24 hours after you submit.

I live in PA and I do my state return in TT as well. However, I cannot e-file my state return due to an odd investment form that PA wants a paper copy of. So I print out my return and manually mail it. But I believe most people e-file their state return. And yes, TT charges a fee to e-file the state returns. I think it’s $19.99, but could be wrong.

If you use TT from year to year, you start each year’s return by importing the previous year’s return. So keep them on your computer. This allows TT to use any data that has carryover implications and also saves you time re-entering data.

I’m a very happy TT user. Probably 20 years now.
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Old 01-16-2021, 01:00 PM   #4
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Thanks, Mark. I’ve been using TurboTax for many years so I’ll probably stick with it.

And thanks for the info Paunchy!
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Old 01-16-2021, 01:15 PM   #5
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Thanks, Mark. Iíve been using TurboTax for many years so Iíll probably stick with it.

And thanks for the info Paunchy!


Iíve been using TurboTax for many years and have always e-filed with them without any problem. I also e-file my PA state return and a NJ return for a rental. I think the state e-file went up to $29.95, but Iím not sure. I usually get notifications of acceptance by the Feds and states within a day. Amendments have to be mailed in, but you can still do them with TT.
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Old 01-16-2021, 01:28 PM   #6
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TTax state e-file fees depend on where and when you file. NY is free. For other states, it's usually $19.99 if you e-file in February, $24.99 if you file after March 1.
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Old 01-16-2021, 01:51 PM   #7
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Generally if the state has an e-file mandate, then there is no additional fee to do so. But if paper filing is an option, then a ďconvenienceĒ fee can be charged by TT and others.
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Old 01-16-2021, 01:51 PM   #8
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Ok thanks. I may just go with e-file for federal, then print out and mail state tax, like Paunchy. I usually work it out so I owe a little, so I’m not concerned about refunds. I’m mostly concerned about ACA reconciliation and IRS processing delays for paper filers.
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Old 01-16-2021, 02:23 PM   #9
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Ok thanks. I may just go with e-file for federal, then print out and mail state tax, like Paunchy. I usually work it out so I owe a little, so Iím not concerned about refunds. Iím mostly concerned about ACA reconciliation and IRS processing delays for paper filers.

Check your state tax website. Here in Colorado, you can file state taxes online on the state website for free. I prepare the tax return using TT, but enter the data manually on the web site - takes minutes. I also pay estimated taxes on the state web-site.
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Old 01-16-2021, 02:41 PM   #10
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Do you owe taxes? If yes proceed with filing on paper. If you expect a refund file electronically and examine why you're in that predicament. Stimulus payments or ACA's credits would be an acceptable exemption.
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Old 01-16-2021, 02:46 PM   #11
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Do you owe taxes? If yes proceed with filing on paper. If you expect a refund file electronically and examine why you're in that predicament. Stimulus payments or ACA's credits would be an acceptable exemption.
I don't know why you recommend paper filing if you owe but electronic if you get a refund. If you owe, you can set the date for the funds to be transferred out of your bank account. I always set for April 14th with zero problems.
If I get a refund, I file soon as I can to beat the rush and to keep risk of someone else stealing my filing by applying before I do.
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Old 01-16-2021, 02:54 PM   #12
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Check your state tax website. Here in Colorado, you can file state taxes online on the state website for free. I prepare the tax return using TT, but enter the data manually on the web site - takes minutes. I also pay estimated taxes on the state web-site.
California has a similar free filing system, but it's ridiculously restrictive. You can't use it if you have to file Federal Schedules C, D, E or F; if you have HSA contributions; if you have Roth IRA conversions; etc. I print our state return from TTax and mail it in.
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Old 01-16-2021, 02:55 PM   #13
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OP - I use TaxCut, and e-file 4 returns each year at no charge, besides the $21 software cost.

The TaxCut State return, I fill out in the program, then print out.

In IL they have a decent online State tax filing program, so I use my printout and do the State form, then print it out after submitting it.
My Taxcut printout is used to ensure I don't miss something at the State site.

Taxcut charges around $20 (or more?) per State form to e-file so I avoid this cost.

Weirdly, mailing in an IL State form is more hassle, as have to also mail in the Federal return and slips, or certain parts of the Federal Return. Such a waste and hassle I'd rather do the Website.
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Old 01-16-2021, 03:13 PM   #14
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I don't know why you recommend paper filing if you owe but electronic if you get a refund. If you owe, you can set the date for the funds to be transferred out of your bank account. I always set for April 14th with zero problems.
If I get a refund, I file soon as I can to beat the rush and to keep risk of someone else stealing my filing by applying before I do.
Granted I'm a simpleton but I don't pay a cent to file. Furthermore if someone steals my filing I don't care. I'm out nothing. If I did have a refund, highly unlikely, I would apply it to next years taxes. This is what I did in '16 and the IRS had to straighten out the theft, which they did. I was out nothing. Furthermore I find no need to use the Free Fidelity TurboTax Premier they're offering me.
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Old 01-16-2021, 04:19 PM   #15
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Amendments have to be mailed in, but you can still do them with TT.
The IRS is now accepting e-filed amended returns for 2019 1040 and 1040SR. I predict TT will enable that feature in their software.

https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/now-ava...ctronic-filing
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Old 01-16-2021, 04:24 PM   #16
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Do you owe taxes? If yes proceed with filing on paper. If you expect a refund file electronically and examine why you're in that predicament. Stimulus payments or ACA's credits would be an acceptable exemption.
We work hard to owe taxes April 15. But we still eFile. We schedule the payment independently of our tax return eFiling through eftps.gov.

We use TT and eFiling is included.
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Old 01-16-2021, 04:32 PM   #17
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We work hard to owe taxes April 15. But we still eFile. We schedule the payment independently of our tax return eFiling through eftps.gov.

We use TT and eFiling is included.
Ditto.

Fed e-file is free with TT, why not use it?

It is fast, simple and reliable. In the past I have mailed a check, but since we have been using eftps.gov this year for quarterly's, I will probably do the same as you.

I also pay the cost to state e-file. Yeah, it cost a few bucks, but when I push the button, I am done (except for sending them a check).
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Old 01-16-2021, 04:44 PM   #18
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We work hard to owe taxes April 15. But we still eFile. We schedule the payment independently of our tax return eFiling through eftps.gov.

We use TT and eFiling is included.
All I did was report my experience with my identity fraud. Your results may vary. I would assume if there was a problem with submission your return would be blocked, I don't know but do know what works for me. Best wishes.
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