More Americans filing their income taxes electronically from home
by Kris Vera
Medill News Service
Northwest Indiana Times
April 07, 2004
As the April 15 income tax deadline approaches, the Internal Revenue Service reported a 12 percent increase in returns filed electronically, many from the comfort of a personal computer.
The IRS stated that 74.5 million individual tax returns were filed through March 26, and 61.7 percent were filed electronically.
Sue Hales, Illinois spokeswoman for the IRS, said 3.2 million returns were filed by state residents, and more than 62 percent of those returns were electronic.
“The largest increase in returns filed is through the PC,” Hales said.
Pat Brummer, Indiana spokeswoman for the IRS, said 1.2 million electronic income tax returns have been filed there, up from 1.1 million a yer ago..
The total number of individual federal income tax returns filed as of March 26 is up 1.9 percent from the March 2003 total of 73.1 million.
As of March 26, 63 million Americans have received their federal tax refund, according to the IRS. Hales said the average federal tax refund this year is $2113, 5 percent more than last year’s average of $2010.
IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson recomends electronic filing, or e-file.
“E-filing is the fastest and easiest way to do taxes,” Everson said in a press release. “There are fewer errors and taxpayers get their refunds in less than half the time of paper returns.”
Taxpayers have four ways to take advantage of electronic filing: do it yourself with tax preparation software and a personal Internet connection, through a tax professional who will charge a fee to prepare an e-file return, the Free File service through the IRS, and by phone with the TeleFile Tax Package by the IRS.
The Free File service is through the Free File Alliance, a public-private partnership between the IRS and the tax software industry. Free File Alliance companies have their own sets of eligibility criteria.
The TeleFile Tax Package lets taxpayers file their returns with the IRS over the phone. As of last month, the number of income tax returns filed by phone is down 6.5 percent to 3 million.
Kevin Robert, president of the tax and accounting unit at CCH Inc., a legal publisher, said many people who are used to electronic transactions prefer the e-file method for income tax returns.
“As people become more familiar with electronic transactions, ranging from ATM cards to on-line banking, they’re realizing the ease-of-use and time-saving benefits such transactions provide,” Robert said in a press release.
CCH Inc. developed CompleteTax and ProSystem fx Tax, two software applications for on-line preparations.