If you've moved your banking and investing activities to the Internet, it's not much of a leap to move another big money matter into the electronic realm: paying the piper—Uncle Sam—in the annual Filing O' the Taxes. Electronic filing, where you submit your return directly to the Internal Revenue Service's computers over the Internet, has been steadily gaining popularity. In fact, Congress wants the IRS to have at least 80 percent of tax returns filed electronically by 2007.
Now, you can't prepare your return directly on the IRS Web site. You have to hire a professional tax preparer or use computer software like TurboTax to upload your finished file.
But even if you still like to do the yearly summation on paper—wearing your green eyeshade while your fingers tap-dance across the calculator—the Web can at least save you a trip to the post office on a quest for obscure forms you might need. And if you have questions on your return as you wade through it, there are plenty of experts around the Net to offer advice—including the Tax Man himself, Mr. Internal Revenue Service, with a government Web site full of answers.
Having software help you calculate your taxes saves both time and temper when preparing a return. It can mean more accurate results—the IRS recently estimated than more than 17 percent of tax returns filed on paper contained mistakes like calculations based on the wrong tax tables, basic math errors, and ...