It’s pretty depressing that the only inevitabilities in life are death and taxes. And it’s funny how some folks would rather wrangle with death than face a tussle with tax forms and payments.
If you own or work for a small business and have to deal with paying the taxes, you know how inconvenient it can be to take time out to do the paperwork and then rush to the post office to fire off your form and check. That hassle becomes all the nastier when your check disappears in the bowels of the U.S. Treasury, and you have to do it all over again.
Well, you can take some of the pain out of this unwelcome ritual by filing and paying taxes online. And the best news is doing so is free. No stamps, no cost of gas to get to the post office and almost no cost for your time in doing the filing.
According to the U.S. Treasury Web site involved (www.eftps.gov), which takes payments from both businesses and individuals, “The Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) is one of the most successful federal government programs undertaken in recent years.”
That’s nice, but what if you’re a little nervous about using electronic payment systems? Reluctance is understandable, and you’re not alone. A recent report from eMarketer indicates that electronic- payment-systems prophets have dramatically scaled back their once rosy predictions about the use of this payment technology.
According to the report at www.emarketer.com, “Vendors and software providers have not been able to dramatically change consumers’ long-established payment routines, and businesses still execute most of their transactions with a literal “paper trail.”
Having that all-important paper trail, especially when it comes to handing precious dollars over to Uncle Sam, is critical.
But, anticipating reticence to file and pay electronically, EFTPS has gone to great lengths to facilitate ease of use and both electronic and paper trails. “With EFTPS-OnLine,” the site says, “you receive an instant, printable confirmation number for your records after every payment instruction. Plus, the EFTPS-OnLine system gives you immediate access to your payment history for the previous 120 days.”
The benefits touted by EFTPS focus on being in good company with many other businesses, cost and time savings, and control, “Millions of businesses are already enrolled in this system. It saves you time and money. No more last minute trips to the bank or post office, lost checks, or missed deadlines. You’re in total control of initiating your tax payment securely through this site.”
Here’s how it works as listed on the site:
“Step 1. By 8:00 p.m. ET at least one calendar day prior to your tax due date, you log on, enter your tax payment report, review the information, and click “Submit” to initiate the payment.
Step 2. Per your instructions, EFTPS will automatically debit your indicated bank or credit union account and will transfer the funds to the U.S. Treasury on the date you indicate. Your tax records will be updated with the IRS.
Step 3. That’s it. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week you can access this site and initiate all your federal tax payments from the convenience of your home or office.”
Pretty simple and certainly convenient.
To take advantage of the system, enroll to use EFTPS at www.eftps.gov. When you first arrive at the Home Page, don’t be put off by the rottweiler wording. The threat of cyberterrorism is all too real so the warning has to be sharp. Just choose your state from the pull-down menu and click on “enter.” Once inside you’ll find the site easy to navigate and understand.
Spend some time in the Help and Information section to be sure you understand what’s involved. If you want more information, visit the Download section where PDF-formatted forms and information booklets can be downloaded. Finally, follow the links to filling out the enrollment form.
Once you’ve enrolled you can download software that makes all the magic happen.
Seems to me that using EFTPS will make at least one of the inevitabilities of life a good deal easier to deal with, especially for small businesses. Give it a look at www.eftps.gov.
Article © Copyright 2001 James H. Hyde. Syndicated by Paradigm News, Inc.