IRS Reports Increase in E-Filing

The IRS has reported that more than 2.6 percent of Americans who have filed their 1998 income taxes have done so online. This represents a 156 percent increase over last year.

A poll by NFO and Jupiter Communications had found that less than 2 percent of Internet users plan on preparing their taxes over the Internet. That is less than 0.5 percent of all expected individual returns.

Almost two million people had filed their taxes electronically as of March 1999, the IRS said. Electronic filing consists of using either a home computer, having a professional prepare the taxes electronically, or filing via telephone. The IRS plans on having 80 percent of all tax returns filed electronically by 2007.

Thirty-six states allow taxpayers to file both their state and federal taxes electronically in one transmission. The IRS says more than 6 million taxpayers have taken advantage of this service, a 33.5 percent increase over last year.

The IRS Web site received more than 530 million hits from January 1, 1999 to March 21. That is a 155 percent increase over last year, when the site received 208.4 million hits from January 1, 1998 to April 15.

The IRS site offers hundreds of forms and instructions for downloading. In January and February of 1999, the IRS reports more than 24 million forms were downloaded, an increase from 1998’s 9.4 million.

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