Did you know that 80 percent of Americans who filed taxes last year did so electronically (according to the IRS)? With the popularity of filing taxes online continuing to rise, Master Lock is providing consumers with the digital tools and top five tips to simplify the filing process and keep private income information safe.
One of these tools is the Master Lock Vault, a safe and secure online storage and organization system.
1. Request electronic copies of your tax forms. Many employers offer employees the option to receive their W-2 forms electronically, instead of by mail. By eliminating the risk of postal delays or missed deliveries, this ensures that your W-2 will be delivered securely as soon as it is available. Plus, faster W-2s can mean faster tax returns.
2. Securely store documents online. Avoid the mess of a mound of paperwork by storing — and organizing — all of your tax-related documents online. By utilizing a free, secure service such as the Master Lock Vault you’ll have easy access to all of your files wherever you are and help ensure that none of your paper documents will ever be lost, misplaced, stolen or damaged. Not only can you upload PDF forms, but you can upload photos from your phone of important receipts and expenses for your records. All data is instantly synchronized between the website and the App. Bonus: securely store log-in information for your bank accounts and tax filing site in the Vault so you’ll never have to worry about forgetting your username or password.
3. Think taxes year-round. Don’t wait until you’re ready to file your taxes to start collecting and organizing the supporting documents you’ll need to complete your return. Avoid the scramble by capturing and uploading a digital image of your receipt each time you pay the babysitter or have a tax deductible transaction, fill a prescription at the pharmacy, or make a charitable contribution such as dropping off a clothing donation to your local thrift store.
4. Opt for direct deposit. If you’ve done everything else online, why request a hard-copy check when it comes time to claim your refund? When combined with electronic filing, direct deposit is the fastest way to get your refund. If you’re on the other side of the spectrum and find that you owe taxes, opt to pay online and you can avoid the long tax-season lines at the post office.
5. Call for help. Sometimes, outside advice is necessary, and you can now get the help you need without leaving home. Based on the complexity of your question, there are a variety of resources to turn to. For example, the IRS offers a toll-free hotline for tax questions during weekdays. Several tax-prep software providers also offer guidance via online forums or on their social media feeds.