Taxpayers flock to e-filing

A record number of taxpayers used the Internet this year to file their tax returns electronically, the IRS reported Thursday.

"We're seeing record-breaking use of electronic filing, faster tax processing and a strong upsurge in direct deposit of refunds," said Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Charles Rossotti. "This means more taxpayers are getting refunds faster than ever."

The IRS released the latest figures on April 13, four days before this year's filing deadline. It showed a dramatic increase in the use of computers to file tax returns. Among the highlights:

    * Through April 7, taxpayers filed nearly 30.7 million returns electronically — surpassing the 29.3 million for all of last year. The new numbers represent a 17.4 percent increase.

    * Nearly 4 million filers prepared their own returns, representing a 94 percent increase from last year.

    * The IRS World Wide Web site, www.irs.gov, is one of the most frequently visited sites on the Internet. It recorded 791 million hits through April 9, a 15 percent increase.

    * Direct deposits of refunds jumped 25 percent; $522.4 billion in refunds was directly deposited.

Rossotti called this year's tax season "one of the smoothest, most efficient filing seasons in years."

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