More business e-services available as e-filing mounts

The IRS has received more than 40 million returns electronically, with nearly half of this year's tax returns filed. That's nearly 11 percent ahead of last year's pace through March 12, the IRS said yesterday.

Of the 40.2 million returns that have been e-filed, more than 9.2 million were prepared by the taxpayer on a home computer, 23 percent more than last year.

Tax professionals have filed 28.1 million tax returns electronically, up 9.3 percent from last year.

Taxpayers have received refunds totaling $83.9 billion through direct deposit this year, 13.6 percent more than last year. Average 2003 refunds were $2,151, an increase of $101 over last year.

E-filing and electronic services offered on IRS.gov are seeing big increases this year. So far this filing season, taxpayers have used the 'Where's My Refund' feature at IRS.gov 13.2 million times, up 5 million from last year.

Businesses and tax-exempt organizations now can file tax forms 1120 and 990 electronically, CIO Todd Grams told the IRS Oversight Board. IRS last month launched its first release of Modernized e-File, which contains 53 forms and schedules used by 1120 filers. Release 2 later this year will contain the remaining 43 forms, he said.

IRS also has launched the first release of e-Services that will let tax professionals and financial institutions work electronically on accounts. The remaining projects will be completed later this month.

'While these are promising first results that will benefit taxpayers and practitioners and reduce [the] filing burden, the IRS must deliver a number of critical projects later this year, including the first release of the Customer Account Data Engine,' said Larry Levitan, chairman of the oversight board's Business Transformation Committee.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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