March 13, 1997
Tax Filing Season Successes Continue
WASHINGTON - The Internal
Revenue Service is continuing its successful tax filing season, with increases in the
numbers of taxpayers helped and of electronic returns filed.
"We have a number of ways to provide the help taxpayers
need," said IRS Commissioner Margaret Milner Richardson. "In addition to the
toll-free phone lines, that also provide automated refund information, we have a Website
and a fax-on- demand system."
The IRS has significantly improved its toll-free telephone
system, answering over 70 percent of callers, up about 20 percentage points from last
year. The accuracy rate for these calls is 94 percent.
The IRS Website -- at
www.irs.ustreas.gov -- has tax information for individuals and businesses, plus
publications and forms that can be downloaded and filed. Almost 58 million visits have
been paid to the Website this year.
The IRS Tax Fax -- at
703-487-4160 -- allows callers from a fax machine to follow voice prompts to have tax
forms, instructions and other materials faxed back.
Tele-Tax -- at 1-800-829-4477 --
offers recorded information on over 140 tax topics, 24 hours a day. Another feature of the
system allows callers to check on the status of their refunds a few weeks after filing.
Taxpayers have been making greater use of opportunities for
electronic commerce with the IRS. Over 14 million returns have arrived electronically, via
both computers and the file-by-phone TeleFile system, an increase of nearly 25 percent
over this time last year. Nearly 10 million refunds have been deposited directly to
taxpayers' bank accounts, a 39 percent increase over last year.
The IRS has processed almost $33 billion in refunds, compared
with $31 billion this time last year. The average refund -- $1467 -- is almost 10 percent
higher than last year's.
1997 FILING SEASON STATISTICS
Cumulative through the week ending 3/8/96 and 3/7/97
1996 1997 % Change
Individual Income Tax Returns
Total Receipts 45,910,000 45,219,000 - 1.5
Total Processed 32,687,000 31,210,000 - 4.5
Filing Alternatives -- Total Receipts:
Standard Electronic 9,273,000 10,921,000 17.8
TeleFile 2,284,000 3,495,000 53.0
1040PC Format 2,373,000 2,746,000 15.7
Refunds Certified by the Martinsburg Computing Center:
Number 23,154,000 22,486,000 - 2.9
Amount of principal $30.950 billion $32.979 billion 6.6
Average refund $1337 $1467 9.7
(NOTE: refund data should NOT be compared to the "processed"
numbers above, since those figures reflect Service
Center processing, which is completed at least a week
before refunds are certified at the Computing Center)
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