*** Warning! Warning! Danger Will Robinson! Accounting lingo ahead! ***
I've noticed that some of our clients, when talking about their taxes, use words or phrases that they don't actually understand. Here's a couple of points that will make things clearer and avoid some confusion.
First, the phrase "tax return" does not have anything to do with the amount you receive back from the government. If you are receiving money back that is a tax refund. The return is the document filed with the government which reports your income for the year and calculates your taxes.
Next, the phrase "electronic filing" has nothing to do with the manner the government sends you your refund. Instead, electronic filing refers to a method of transmitting your return in which your preparer sends the return to the government through electronic means rather than mailing the return. Filing electronically does not necessarily mean that the goverment will send your refund to your bank account electronically. If you want an electronically transmitted refund, you want to use direct deposit. Direct deposit can be used no matter what manner you choose to file your income tax return.
This type of year I typically find lots of misunderstandings with clients because they don't understand these two phrases. Generally it's possible to infer what they actually mean and explain the phrases to them. However, it's not always immediately evident that a client doesn't understand the words they're using.