February 12, 1998
Early Returns Show Popularity
of Electronic Filing
WASHINGTON - The popularity of filing tax returns electronically -- or e-filing -climbed dramatically in the early
days of this tax season. Through February 6, more than 8.3 million
of the 14.3 million returns filed -- nearly 60 percent -- arrived at
the Internal Revenue Service by either phone or computer.
Although most e-filed returns still come through tax
professionals, individual participation in e-filing options shows
the greatest percentage growth. E-filing from a personal computer
has nearly tripled from the same period last year, from 41,000 to
115,000 returns. The use of TeleFile, the file-by-phone system, is
up 25 percent, from 2 million to 2.5 million returns.
In 1997, the IRS had 19.2 million e-filed returns: 14.5 million
by computer -367,000 of them from individual computer users -- and
4.7 million TeleFile returns.
E-filing gives taxpayers the advantages of faster refunds (half
the time of paper returns), greater accuracy (reducing the chance of
an error letter from the IRS), and an acknowledgment that the IRS
has accepted the return.
The IRS has processed over $14 billion in refunds, compared with
$13 billion at the same time last year. The average refund -- $1643
-- is three percent higher than last year's.
1998 FILING SEASON STATISTICS
Cumulative through the week ending 2/7/97 and 2/6/98
1997 1998 % Change
Individual Income Tax Returns
Total Receipts 15,486,000 14,262,000 -7.9
Total Processed 9,107,000 9,662,000 6.1
E-filing -- Total Receipts:
Standard E-file 5,426,000 5,862,000 8.0
TeleFile 1,982,000 2,481,000 25.2
Refunds Certified by the Martinsburg Computing Center:
Number 8,338,000 8,888,000 6.6
Amount of principal $13.271 billion $14.603 billion 10.0
Average refund $1592 $1643 3.2
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