Electronic IRS Debuts Today
Beginning today, taxpayers may file their 2005 tax returns electronically. This marks the 20th anniversary of being able to file taxes electronically. Electronic filing began as a pilot project in three cities: Cincinnati, Ohio, Phoenix, Ariz., and Raleigh-Durham, N.C. with 25,000 tax returns filed electronically that year. The e-file program expanded nationwide in 1990 and 4.2 million tax returns were filed. Last year 52% of all returns were filed electronically – a total of more than 68.4 million.
“Last year, more than half of the nation’s taxpayers used IRS e-file. This year, we hope even more people will consider filing electronically. It’s the fastest, safest and most accurate way to file your tax return,” said IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson. “This year, we have our electronic services available in one place at the new Electronic IRS section of our web site. The Electronic IRS provides a gateway to services for both taxpayers and tax preparers and makes these services available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
The IRS has also launched the Electronic IRS, a centralized source for all IRS electronic options. Taxpayers and tax preparers now have a page that contains an overview of all the electronic tasks that can be accomplished online.
One of the greatest benefits of IRS e-file is that if individuals choose direct deposit, they can receive their refund in half the time. E-filed tax returns are also far more accurate than a paper return becasue they avoid many of the common tax return mistakes. Taxpayers receive an acknowledgement within 48 hours that the IRS accepted the return.
IRS e-file allows taxpayers to file their return and pay later should they owe taxes, and it allows taxpayers to file both the federal and most state returns at the same time.
IRS Free File, a partnership between the IRS and some software manufacturers, will offer free tax preparation and e-filing for taxpayers earning $50,000 or less, but is not currently available It will be available later this month.