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What to Know If You Plan to E-File

In its zeal to promote e-filing, the Internal Revenue Service provides many pathways for taxpayers. Those with Adjusted Gross Incomes of $58,000 or less may use free software designed to be easy to use. A consortium of about 20 tax preparers, including Turbotax and H&R Block, provide this service to taxpayers. Participating firms may be reached through Some states also have forms on this platform.

For those earning more than $58,000—and who feel comfortable doing their own taxes—the IRS has “Free File Fillable Forms” at the same link. These are online versions of the paper forms that may be filled out and e-filed free. These forms do only basic math, but partly filled forms may be stored on the server until they are complete. There are no links to state tax forms, however.

Taxes may also be e-filed using commercial software or through a preparer. Returns will be easier to sign if you know your 2009 Adjusted Gross Income, but taxpayers may also use an IRS-approved PIN number. For more, search for Electronic Filing Pin Request at

Still want to file on paper? Many forms may be downloaded and printed from One exception: Forms W-2 and W-3 used to pay “nanny taxes” for household help. These must be “non-reproduced” forms and cannot be downloaded or copied.

All forms should be available at your local IRS office or by mail from 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676). Most taxpayers can expect to receive a mailing within 10 business days, says an IRS spokesman, unless a particular form is out of stock for a short time. Mailing times can vary according to locale as well, so the IRS recommends making requests as soon as possible leave time to meet this year’s April 18 deadline.


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About The Tax Blog

  • The Tax Blog brings together a team of award-winning tax journalists from the Dow Jones network and around the web to examine the tax issues, changes and legislation that affect families, investors and small business owners. Our contributors include Tax Report columnist Laura Saunders (WSJ), Tax Guy columnist Bill Bischoff and senior reporter Jilian Mincer (, retirement-focused reporter Anne Tergesen (WSJ), wealth management writer Arden Dale (Dow Jones Newswires), TaxWatch columnist Eva Rosenberg and personal finance reporter Andrea Coombes (MarketWatch), and reporter Alyssa Abkowitz (SmartMoney). They’ll provide the latest news and insight, mine the tax code for tips and loopholes, and answer your questions about tricky tax situations. Contact the The Tax Blog with ideas, suggestions or tax questions at