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The Whys of Taxes

Theme 6: Understanding the IRSLesson 3: Methods of Filing


IRS e-file logo, and authorized e-file provider logo.
Most people who work need to file a tax return. Benefits of electronically preparing and transmitting tax returns include increased accuracy, faster refunds, and the ability to file federal and state returns simultaneously.

  • Electronic filing using tax preparation software on a personal computer is one option. Taxpayers can transmit their returns from home, workplaces, libraries, financial institutions, or retail outlets.
  • A second option is to use tax professionals, including certified public accountants (CPAs), tax attorneys, IRS-enrolled agents, tax preparation businesses, and VITA sites and walk-ins. Depending on the tax professional and the services required, a fee may be charged.


quick check
Who benefits from electronic filing of tax returns?

tax trivia
Did You Know?
On January 24, 1986, the first electronic transmission of tax return data from a preparer to the IRS was completed. By 1989, taxpayers in 36 states could file their taxes electronically, and by 1990, taxpayers throughout the country who expected a refund could file electronically.

Test your tax trivia knowledge by answering the following multiple-choice question. To assess your answer, click the Check My Answers button.
E-filing can dramatically reduce errors. The error rate for a paper return is 21 percent, compared with an e-file return error rate of
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