As you probably know if you are reading this, we are avid fans of technology. We do not consider ourselves cutting edge as that sometimes has its own perils, however, we embrace the modernization of old habits, and certainly enjoy the productivity gains technology allows.
One area we have been slow to embrace, Filing Your Personal Tax Return Electronically, changed recently during a friendly agrument from a Tax preparer friend earlier this month. Just as a reminder, we do not do tax returns, and are not CPA’s, but we often find ourselves happily digging through returns as a double-check, and many times after a friendly note from the IRS.
Our main hesitation for electronic filing has been the possible problems associated with an amended, corrected, or otherwise problematic return. We have been assured, and have a shallow track record, but believe this is no longer a valid concern.
So what was the argument that changed our mind?
Upon learning that accounting firms completing greater than 100 returns are now mandated to file electronically (most anyone who works with an accounting professional must file electronically now) I voiced my skepticism only to receive an opinion changing response.
“Would you prefer to have the data manually entered by a person from the paper you send, or electronically completed with much less chance of transposing error?”
That was all it took to make me a believer, I had never thought of the data entry errors prior to that statement, and again have been somewhat comforted in electronic correction methods for those inevitable oops issues.
A couple of recommendations, especially if you are filing yourself:
- Always keep a pdf/paper copy of your entire return with the expanded items, just in case there is a problem or proof of filing is needed in the future; Click here for the IRS recommended record keeping items
- Many brokerage vendors allow automatic downloads of transactions to populate realized gains and losses – Use this at your own risk! Our experience has been a lack of accuracy
- If you are filing electronically, be sure to confirm the IRS’s receipt of your information
- Keep returns for years of major purchases, such as a residence or other property
In closing, I guess the old dog new tricks cliché may be useful, however we have found caution very useful, especially given our occupation. This time we are finally embracing technology, even if it still makes us slightly uncomfortable!
Have a Great Day and a Super Weekend !