"Paperless" tax returns

In the interests of streamlined tax collection, here is what I went through this year.

  1. Filed my IRS return through TurboTax. The IRS received the return electronically and processed it. But I need to print out copies of it for my own records. This required a 1040 (2 pages), Schedule A (1 page), Schedule C-EZ (1 page), Schedule D (1 page), and a Schedule SE (1 page). Not too bad 6 pages.
  2. Then I filed my state return. This required a 540 (2 pages), CA adjustments (1 page to show that I had none), a page that I had to sign, but not send (1 page), 4 vouchers for estimated payments for the rest of 2004 (4 pages). 9 pages in all.

Then I had to file an amended return.
So I did the Federal 1040X (2 pages) and I had to reprint all the other pages (6 pages).
Then the State 540X (2 pages), plus a new 540 (2 pages), a Form W (1 page just to staple W-2 on), a CA adjustments page (again showing that I had none, 1 page) and 4 more vouchers (4 pages). 10 pages in all, but I have to include a copy of my Federal return (8 pages)

So my paperless return required me to print out 35 pieces of paper.
I had to file the amended return because an IRA which I inherited from my father, who passed away in 2002, wasn’t paid until 2003 and the company that administered didn’t bother to send me a 1099 until March 15.

What are you, a commie?

I filed over the internet through ufile.ca, though I made a printout of my return, which I’ll keep for six years, as suggested by Revenue Canada and then shred.

You’re the only person I’ve seen who claims this method is (or should be) “paperless”. The main advantage was speed and ease of filing, not ecology.

I dunno about Canada, but here in the states, the IRS IS touting e-Filing as a “paperless solution”.

I telefiled both my state and federal returns, and have 0 papers (save for W2s I threw into a folder). My returns were, as they always have been, paperless. :smiley:

The only reason I printed anything out was so that my wife could take it to our local IRS office for some help in filling out my Injured Spouse form. (Long story.)

As for my own records, I just saved the files as PDFs. I am way more likely to still have a PDF file five or six years from now than I am to have a stack of paper.

Dr. J

That was my solution. Only print it if I have to submit a copy of something. Seems pretty paperless to me.

With an aditional copy that is not on the HD, right?

Of course.

You can only file electronically once. If you have to amend the return, you have to submit a paper copy, so I had to print out the old return and the new return.

I’m assuming that most of the people that the ad for “paperless solution” is targetted towards won’t have to file amended returns.

I’m a CPA and I do a lot of tax returns. My colleagues and myself have resisted filing electronically. You’ll have to understand that the returns that we are filing are more complex than most. IMO the IRS pushes for electronic filing because more information is supplied to the service than on a paper return, and the information is entered directly into their systems. If I take an aggressive position on a return the less information the IRS has the better. Additionally, it does take more fooling around to file electronically. We estimate that we have an additional $50 to $100 in professional time in a paperless return.

So we get this visit from a IRS agent who is trying to sell us on the advantages of paperless returns. I was upfront about why I don’t care for the process. The agent stated that paperless file was a cost reduction issue for the service, that paperless filing saved 25 to 50 cent per 1040. Lets see now….hmmm… charge my client $50 to $100 more to save the IRS 25 to 50 cents… hmmm …. give me a break.

The last incentive the agent offered was that if we filed a certain number of return electronically during the year, we would have special access to taxpayer information on-line. It really pisses me off that there is double standard for access to information. We would also be able to display stickers on our premises that showed that we did paperless filing and that we were in partnership with the IRS in helping the taxpayer get their return filed.

I don’t think I want my clients to think that I am in partnership with the IRS. Don’t think it would be good for business.

If I were the IRS, my incentive to you would be “We know that aggressive returns are usually filed on paper. You don’t want your clients to get audited, do you?” That’s just because I’m a mean and vengeful bastard. :wink:

BTW, I filed electronically, got my refund deposited directly into my account in about 3 days.

Could you give a little more detail on this point (i.e., “more information,” not "entered directly "), maybe with an example? You’ve piqued my interest.

(BTW, I’m a tax lawyer, so I don’t file returns for other people, but I do advise people on tax matters [these “people” are usually large corporations, but are actual humans sometimes])