Electronic Tax Filings Becoming More Popular - InformationWeek

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Electronic Tax Filings Becoming More Popular

The IRS expects more than half of all individual tax returns will be filed electronically this year.

The Internal Revenue Service's efforts to reduce manual paperwork by offering electronic filing of tax returns, direct deposit of refunds and electronic payment programs are proving successful. As of April 1, there have been 52 million tax returns filed using at least one of these methods, up 60% from the same time last year. The program is in its third year.

The IRS expects more than half of all individual tax returns will be filed electronically this year. About 3.93 million returns have been filed through its Free File program so far this year, up 44% from 2.7 million returns filed through the program in 2004. The Free File program includes partnerships with about 20 private tax-preparation software companies, including Intuit Inc. Excluding its Free File-related donations, Intuit reported last week that it sold 9.1 million tax software packages through April 2, up 11% from 8.3 million a year ago.

Direct deposit of IRS refunds is also gaining in popularity. So far, 42 million refunds have been paid through direct deposit, up 5.7% from the same time last year. Taxpayers who file electronically and choose direct deposit get their refunds about 50% sooner than those who choose manual methods, the IRS says.

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