IRS e-filing misses target

IRS e-file information

A record number of people filed their taxes electronically this year, but the numbers fell short of the Internal Revenue Service's targets.

The number of tax returns filed electronically jumped 13 percent to 39.45 million this year, according to IRS numbers, up from 34.91 million who filed electronically last year.

Although the numbers represent a significant increase, they are less than the IRS' projections. The IRS initially had set a goal of having 42 million people file electronically, but earlier this year the agency revised the goal to 40 million.

The numbers also fall off the pace that will be necessary if the agency is going to meet the requirements of the 1998 IRS Restructuring and Reform Act, which calls for the IRS to receive 80 percent of all tax returns electronically by 2007. That figure, however, includes business returns, which are not included in these numbers.

By the time the e-filing program ends later this year, the IRS expects to receive nearly 40 million returns electronically, representing more than 30 percent of individual taxpayers.

The IRS said 6.6 million people used their home computers to file — an increase of 35 percent over last year. The number of returns filed electronically by tax professionals showed an increase of about 14 percent to 28.41 million.

The number of returns filed using IRS's TeleFile system, which lets certain taxpayers file via telephone, fell by 14 percent to 4.4 million.

The IRS Web site continued to be popular. The site chalked up more than 1.5 billion hits from January through April 16 this year, a 57 percent increase from last year. IRS said that the number of forms and documents downloaded topped 103 million through February, double the number downloaded over the same period last year.

The number of people using direct deposit for their tax refunds also increased to 31 million, a jump of 14.5 percent.

IRS Commissioner Charles Rossotti said that the record number of taxpayers filing electronically was part of "one of the best filing seasons ever, even as the agency continued putting in place its most sweeping reorganization in decades."

The agency's new management structure has been in place only since October, Rossotti said.

About the Author

Christopher J. Dorobek is the co-anchor of Federal News Radio’s afternoon drive program, The Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, and the founder, publisher and editor of the DorobekInsider.com, a leading blog for the Federal IT community.

Dorobek joined Federal News Radio in 2008 with 16 years of experience covering government issues with an emphasis on government information technology. Prior to joining Federal News Radio, Dorobek was editor-in-chief of Federal Computer Week, the leading news magazine for government IT decision-makers and the flagship of the 1105 Government Information Group portfolio of publications. As editor-in-chief, Dorobek served as a member of the senior leadership team at 1105 Government Information Group, providing daily editorial direction and management for FCW magazine, FCW.com, Government Health IT and its other editorial products.

Dorobek joined FCW in 2001 as a senior reporter and assumed increasing responsibilities, becoming managing editor and executive editor before being named editor-in-chief in 2006. Prior to joining FCW, Dorobek was a technology reporter at PlanetGov.com, one of the first online community centers for current and former government employees. He also spent five years at Government Computer News, another leading industry publication, covering a variety of federal IT-related issues.

Dorobek is a frequent speaker on issues involving the government IT industry, and has appeared as a frequent contributor to NewsChannel 8’s Federal News Today program. He began his career as a reporter at the Foster’s Daily Democrat, a daily newspaper in Dover, N.H. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California. He lives in Washington, DC.


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