February 25, 1994
Faster, Shorter Tax Forms More Popular
WASHINGTON - Electronic filing and TeleFile continue to grow in
popularity, and many taxpayers are taking advantage of Form 1040EZ's
new availability to married couples, according to the latest tax
season data from the Internal Revenue Service.
The 29.2 million returns received by February 18, 1994,
narrowed the filing gap between this year and last to 5.5 percent,
down form a 10 percent gap last week. Electronic returns accounted
for nearly 8.9 million of the total, up 7.2 percent over this time
last year. At $1,204, the average refund was up 7.7 percent.
TeleFile, the file-by-phone system, is now available in seven
states for single persons with no dependents who would otherwise
file Form 1040EZ. Only those who received a special tax package in
January can use the system. Callers use a touchtone phone's keypad
to enter their income and withholding figures, a process that takes
about five minutes. The IRS had received 372,000 TeleFile
returns--two-thirds of its projection for the year.
Home computer users have some new options to make filing their
taxes easier than ever. Two on-line services--CompuServe and
GEnie--have IRS forms and some publications available for their
subscribers nationwide. CompuServe subscribers in nine
states--Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico,
Oklahoma, Texas and Wisconsin--can participate in an IRS test of
using home computes to file electronically. The IRS received the
return and sends an acknowledgement message to the taxpayer via
E-mail. The taxpayer then mails the IRS a signature document with
W-2 forms attached.
While fewer paper forms have come in, the simplest tax
form--the 1040EZ--is closest to last year's levels. The IRS now
allows married couples with no dependents to use this form, which
had been restricted to single persons in prior years. Because of
this change, the IRS expects to receive 2 million more EZs this
year, for a total of 18.6 million.
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