What is electronic filing?
Electronic filing is a method of filing tax returns where taxpayer information is transmitted to revenue agencies electronically over the internet.
Why should I electronically file my tax return?
Electronic filing offers many benefits that you cannot get through paper filing, such as:
- Faster refunds using direct deposit
- Accuracy -- tax preparation software does calculations for you
- Provides a confirmation so you know your tax returns have been filed
- Reduces costs for the Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR) which saves you tax dollars
- Secure transfer of your personal information
- If you owe, you can choose direct debit/withdrawal from your financial institution and choose the date you want to pay (up to the unextended deadline) without having to worry about writing and mailing a paper check.
What are the costs involved in electronic filing?
The costs will vary depending on your choice of electronic filing method. Many tax professionals prefer e-filing and encourage their clients to use it by not charging an additional fee. Other tax professionals incorporate the e-filing fee into their cost of doing business. Off-the-shelf software can vary in price from approximately $40 to $100. Online filing also varies in price from approximately $25 to $100. Depending on the complexity of your return, you may be eligible for free electronic filing of your Wisconsin income tax return using Wisconsin e-file or My Tax Account. Visit the IRS website for options to file your federal return electronically.
How long does it take to prepare and transmit an electronic tax return?
Simple returns can be prepared in approximately 20 minutes. More complicated returns can take up to 2 hours or more to prepare. Transmitting an electronic tax return usually takes a few minutes.
Is electronic filing secure?
Yes. No one sees your tax information except you, your tax professional (if applicable), the IRS, and DOR. There are no worries about mail delivery, paper shuffling, or unauthorized people seeing your personal or financial information. Internet companies that provide online tax preparation use the industry standard Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol to encrypt your personal data.
Do I have to electronically file my federal and state income tax returns at the same time?
Wisconsin is a "piggyback" state. That means Wisconsin's electronic filing program works with the federal electronic filing program. If you file online or through a tax preparer or tax filing software, you normally file both your federal and state income tax returns together.
If you e-file your federal return, you can still e-file your Wisconsin return at a later time if:
Can all individual income tax forms and schedules be filed electronically?
Most Wisconsin forms and schedules can be electronically filed.
- Wisconsin e-file: See the Can I use Wisconsin e-file? page for a complete list of the forms and schedules that are not supported in Wisconsin e-file.
- My Tax Account: Individual income tax filing in My Tax Account is limited to taxpayers with a single filing status who meet certain requirements. See the My Tax Account for Personal Users page for more information.
- Third-party software: The E-file Software Products page lists vendors that have passed software testing for Wisconsin forms. Confirm with your software company that the forms and schedules you need are available in your software.
Is electronic filing completely paperless?
E-filing can be completely paperless if you attach all required documents to your return when you file.
After you submit your electronic return, you should:
- Print and/or save a copy of your return
- Keep copies of the W-2s, 1099s, and other documents used to complete your return
- Keep all tax records and documents until the period of limitations for the tax return runs out; see our Individual Income Tax Keeping Records page for more information
Note: If you claim homestead credit or one of the other credits or deductions listed on Form W-RA, you must submit required documents within 48 hours of your notification that DOR has received your tax return.
You may submit your required documents in one of the following ways:
- Submit them through DOR's
W-RA file transfer
- Attach to your e-filed return (see instructions from your software)
- Mail with Form W-RA to the address listed on Form W-RA
- Note: Do not attach Form W-RA to paper-filed returns. Form W-RA is only used to submit attachments to an electronically filed return.
When can I electronically file my 2022 individual income tax return?
The Internal Revenue Service and DOR will begin accepting electronically filed individual income tax returns for tax year 2022 on January 23, 2023.
DOR's free Wisconsin e-file and My Tax Account applications are available on or after January 23, 2023.
If you e-file after April 18, 2023 and owe tax, pay any amount owed on or before April 18, 2023, to avoid interest charges, even if you have a valid extension of time to file. If you e-file after October 16, 2023, you will be charged a late filing fee, plus charged interest on any amount owed.
What payment alternatives are offered?
Visit our Make a Payment page for payment options.