Traditionally, filing tax returns is a cumbersome process that involves filling up many pages of complicated forms. Forms are usually received via mail. However, mail can sometimes be lost. Those who failed to receive the forms from the federal government may have to collect the forms themselves to ensure that they are able to file on time. The process can be rather time consuming, and sometimes, the filing can be further delayed due to form errors.

Fortunately, with the help of the Internet, cumbersome forms are a thing of the past. E-filing on the Internet is a very systematic process, and everyone with a computer and an internet connection can make an e-file. The process goes like this:

Account creation.

This is the very first step that you need to take. Your SSN number will be your user name, and you will need to choose a password. Memorize the password. Try not to write the password down as you may lose the piece of paper. If you really have to, keep the piece of paper in a secure place. You can always reset the password if you ever forget what your password is.

e-Filing your tax return.

Once an account has been created, the next step to take is to start the e-filing process. The system will present you with a series of form fields, which you need to fill in. At this point, it will be useful if you have all your numbers ready at hand.

The actual e-filing process is like going through a wizard. You are guided every step of the way from start to finish. If you find yourself stuck somewhere in the middle because of some missing information, don't worry. You can always save the information that you have already entered, go retrieve whatever information you need, and come back at a later date and start from where you left off.

Credibility issues.

As e-filing involves sending highly sensitive information through a public network, it is important that there is some way to establish the credibility of a website. Don't just send in sensitive information through a website just because you receive some email claiming that it's from a legitimate source. Click on everything on the website to make sure that there is nothing suspicious, and call up the numbers listed on the site if possible just to be safe.

Security concerns.

However, even if you are e-filing from a qualified website, there may be more security concerns. Mostly, such concerns are technical issues. For example, SSL must be utilized to ensure that data passes through a secure connection. You know that there is a valid SSL connection available when you see an "s" in front of the "http", or when you see a secure padlock on the status bar of your browser.

On top of that, there should also be third party audits. Security firms who perform such services conduct regular security audits to make sure that the website upholds industry security standards. Certification should be clearly displayed on the website.

You may then e-file with confidence.