How to efile Federal and State Tax Returns
Before you begin, make sure you have all of your tax documents ready, particularly your W-2, 1099, or any other forms showing income.
You should receive all of your W-2 Forms from each of your employers by January 31.
Can I Use My Last Pay Stub Instead of a W-2 to Prepare and efile My Taxes?
You can start your efile.com account, based on your latest pay stub. Enter your personal information, and begin preparing your return with your last pay stub. However, you should not complete and efile your tax return until you receive your W-2 form(s) to make sure that your latest pay stub indeed matches the W-2 form. To complete your return, you will also need your Employer Identification Number (EIN), and most pay stubs do not have this information.
You don't have to submit your W-2 with your efiled tax return, and you don't have to mail it to the IRS when you efile, but the information on your tax return must be accurate since the IRS will have a copy of your W-2.
What If I Don't Have My W-2?
Employers are required to mail out W-2's by January 31.
If you have not received a W-2 Form by January 31, follow these steps:
1. First, contact your employer and request a copy of your W-2. Allow a reasonable amount of time for them to resend it or make it available to you.
2. If you still have not received a Form W-2 from your employer by February 14, call the IRS at 800-829-1040. Have the following information ready:
- Your name, address, city, state, zip code, Social Security Number, and phone number
- Your employer's name, address, city, state, zip code, and phone number
- Dates of employment
- Time of employment, estimated earned wages, and federal income tax withheld (based on your latest pay stub)
3. If you do not receive your W-2, you still must file a tax return or request an extension to file by the tax deadline. If you have completed steps 1 and 2 above, you may use Form 4852, Substitute for Form W-2. You can prepare and efile Form 4852 on efile.com. Unfortunately, using Form 4852 may delay your refund while the information is checked by the IRS.
4. If you receive a W-2 or additional tax documents after you efile your tax return, and they do not match the information you entered online, you must amend your tax return.
The efile Process
It is easy to prepare and efile your tax return on efile.com.
Be prepared--and get your tax refund faster--with the efile tax preparation checklist.
START your IRS efile return
- No complicated, hard-to-understand tax questions
- Previous tax year data can be imported by returning efile.com users
- efile.com fills out all the right forms for you
- efile software performs all math computations
- An online Tax Guide and Support is always there to assist
- Online help links and customer support is always available
- Access tax forms and schedules
- Prepare and efile multiple state tax returns(for the price of one) at the same time as your federal return
- STOP N’ GO: You can always leave (e.g. coffee break, watch a movie, do more research) and come back later — efile.com will remember where you left off
EFILE your return
- View, print, and complete draft copies of your tax return
- efile.com complies with all the latest tax laws
- Automatic error, accuracy, and omissions checking
- Your current tax year return can be printed through December
- Filing options
efile your return directly to the IRS
Print your return and mail it to the IRS
- Refund options
Direct Bank deposit: receive your tax refund directly into your bank account via direct deposit (see tax refund schedule)
Check in the mail: Receive your refund check through the mail
- Payment options:
- The Basic eFile Federal Tax Return option is free; State Return, fee applies
- Deduct tax preparation fee from refund (e-Collect) or pay by credit card for Federal/State Premium eFile option
CHECK/PRINT your return
- You will receive email notification if you need to correct your tax return or check your filing status
- Keep your ID and password so you can access, store, and print your tax return until December of the current tax year for free
- Next tax year you can import, review, and edit previous tax year tax information
- Other things to do after filing your tax return
Can I efile My Tax Return?
Almost everyone can efile. But there are a very small number of special cases which prevent a tax return from being efiled. But even in these rare cases, you can still use efile.com to prepare your return. We provide you with a PDF copy of your return, which you can print, sign, and mail to the IRS if you need to.
According to the IRS rules, you will need to print and mail your return if:
- You are under 16 and have never filed a federal tax return
- You are Married Filing Separately and live in a community property state (Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin)
- Your current address is in American Samoa, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
- You have more than 4 states or localities listed on a single W-2 form
- You have more than 8 Schedule C's
- You want or need to attach a written statement or additional documentation
Even if you cannot efile your return, it is extremely rare not to be able to use the efile.com software to prepare your return.
The software will be unable to prepare your return if:
- You have $0 taxable income (there are some exceptions which allow you to prepare and efile)
- You are a nonresident of the U.S. and must file a 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ (Not sure what form to file? Learn here which Form 1040NR to file)
More Information About Preparing & efiling Tax Returns
Review our tax return planning guide.
Review our list of stupid and smart things taxpayers do when filing their taxes.
Learn about the benefits of using efile.com to prepare and efile your tax return.
Learn more about efile.com.