If you mailed your tax form to the IRS last year, you may want to know about e-filing as an alternative for this year. E-filing has its strength as being faster and more secure, some would probably argue it’s the best option of filing by far. But there are limits to what e-filing can do.
When to E-file
The IRS typically starts accepting e-filed returns around the 2nd half of January, with exact date varying each year. You can find the opening date on the website of the IRS. You have to e-file your return after the IRS opening date, before the opening date you either can’t open the website or can’t open the online form.
The filing deadline is usually a workday around April 15, the deadline will be postponed a day or two if Apr 15 turns to be a weekend or holiday. If you need more time, you can get an extension for another six months until Oct 15.
The e-filing may be rejected for some reason, but the rejection will show you the reason. If you e-file on the last day and you receive a rejection, no worries, there’ll be another five days for you to edit and resubmit.
What to E-file
E-filing is available in all states, some states are moving to an all-electronic tax system. If you plan to mail in your return on paper forms, better first check with your state tax department.
What Can’t Be E-filed
Although e-filing is lenient, certain types of individual tax returns cannot be e-filed. Amended returns (using Form 1040X), 1040 non-resident returns, and some prior-year returns top the list of returns that must be mailed in.
Returns cannot be e-filed if they:
- Contain overrides
- Have no taxable income
- Contain a W-2 where box 1 is blank or the box 16 amount is greater than the box 1 amount
- Contain non-final forms
Many nonresident and part-year state returns cannot be e-filed either.