Ranks of IRS paper filers shrinking fast

If you’re still doing your taxes the old fashioned way — with paper returns —  you’re part of a shrinking minority. And if the growing trend of electronic converts continues, old school paper filing could soon go the way of Betamax, eight-track and analog TV.

Three of four Minnesotans filed electronically last year, according to the IRS. And chances are that even more will leave paper behind this year.

Since the IRS made electronic filing available 20 years ago with its electronic tax return delivery service, the number of Americans filing electronically has grown each year.

The benefits, according to the IRS, include:

–A quick tax refund (as soon as 10 days using direct deposit).

–Fewer mistakes (1 percent with electronic returns compared to nearly 20 percent with paper returns).

–Those who owe taxes can file now and pay later (by April 15).

–E-filers also get an e-mail confirmation that their returns have been received and accepted.

Electronic filing can be done in three ways: with IRS’s Free File (accessed through www.irs.gov), with tax preparation software and by a professional tax preparer.