IRS e-filing hits a midpoint record

Taxpayers are e-filing at a record rate, the IRS said today at the midpoint of the tax filing season. The highest growth rate comes from filers who prepare their own tax returns with a computer, which has increased 13.7 percent to 8.7 million returns.

IRS has received about 74 percent of returns electronically through Feb. 25, up from 69 percent at the same time last year. While this percentage traditionally declines as April 15 approaches, IRS said it expects that for the first time more than half of all individual tax returns will be filed electronically. More than 35 million of the 47 million returns filed so far this year have been e-filed.

The jump in computer use coincides with a surge in use of the Free File program, which IRS sponsors with a consortium of tax software manufacturers, offering free e-filing through IRS.gov for taxpayers in a variety of categories. More than 2.8 million returns came in via Free File through Feb. 23, a 42.6 percent increase from last year’s 1.9 million returns during the same period.

“E-filing is making a strong start. Taxpayers and tax professionals are becoming increasingly comfortable with e-filing,” said IRS commissioner Mark Everson.

Tax professionals still prepare and e-file the most returns, up 4 percent to 24.2 million from 23.3 million.

Early tax refunds are also higher this year. The average refund so far is a record $2,436, $200 more than last year. And three out of four taxpayers receiving refunds are taking advantage of direct deposit.

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