GCN at 25: Adjusted returns

GCN 25th Anniversary logoThe Internal Revenue Service's e-filing program has been a steady success, showing growth each year and ' most important to us ' getting people's refund checks to them more quickly. But in the early days of e-filing, the agency was shooting for the moon. The Feb. 15, 1993, issue of GCN featured a Page 1 story on the IRS' plans to have 100 million returns filed electronically by the year 2001.

Considering that the IRS expected 115 million returns in 1993, about 10 percent of them filed electronically, that would mean roughly 87 percent e-filing by the millennium. The reality has been a bit more down to Earth. Last year, more than 73 million returns were filed electronically, constituting 54 percent of all returns.

In its February report to Congress, the IRS Oversight Board recommended moving the goal of 80 percent e-filing to 2012. Still, it shows the advantage of aiming high: Even if you miss, the result can be pretty good.

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