IRS expands online tax filing

By Tanika Ely

It’s that time of year again – students now have the opportunity to pocket some extra cash from tax refunds.

According to the Internal Revenue Service’s press release, it expanded its online free electronic filing service this year thanks to a partnership with tax software companies. Fifteen companies are currently involved, but the IRS said it expects more in the coming weeks.

“It’s fast, accurate and secure,” said Mark Everson, IRS commissioner, in the press release. “Taxpayers can receive their refunds in half the time.”

While the IRS has expanded its online service, the Associate Press reported that this will be the last year to file taxes over the telephone due to growing expenses.

Thane Jackson, senior in aviation, said he has never used telephone e-file, but has filed his taxes using the paper method in the past and used the online service this year. He suggests that first-time filers use either telephone or online e-filing because it offers a simpler step-by-step process.

Get The Daily Illini in your inbox!

  • Catch the latest on University of Illinois news, sports, and more. Delivered every weekday.
  • Stay up to date on all things Illini sports. Delivered every Monday.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Thank you for subscribing!

“It’s easy,” he said. “They ask you questions and you just fill in the blanks.”

Some students who decide not to file their own taxes might choose to have a commercial company do it for them.

“Students can make sure they get all of their benefits,” said Beth Brandriff, tax associate at H&R; Block. “We try to get them their maximum refund.”

Brandriff said students who are pressed for time or are first-time filers find going to an outside company helpful, but added that it is useful to anyone who wants to make sure they do not make mistakes.

H&R; Block charges around $50 for its services, Brandriff said.

There are also organizations in Champaign, such as the Urban League, that help people file their taxes for free. Synetta Taylor, receptionist for the Urban League, said the office accepts walk-ins on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. as well as appointments on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

While there are benefits to having a company or organization file taxes, there are even greater advantages for students to do the work themselves, Jackson said.

“You don’t have to pay anyone else to do it and it doesn’t take that much time,” he said. “It’s all a learning process that you can use for the future.”