One Billion Served: IRS E-File Passes Major Milestone

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MOUNTAINSIDE — IRS e-file has reached a major milestone as it passed the one billion mark nationwide for individual tax returns processed safely and securely since 1986.

This tax season, more than 3 million New Jerseyans filed their 2010 individual federal income tax returns electronically representing 72 percent of all New Jersey filers.

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The Internal Revenue Service’s electronic filing program started as a pilot project in 1986 and became available nationally in 1990. Prior to the April 18 deadline, IRS e-file passed another high point as more than 100 million individual tax returns were e-filed nationwide during the 2011 filing season.

“IRS e-file is a good deal for taxpayers,” said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman. “The one billion milestone means e-file has delivered real services to taxpayers, including faster refunds and more accurate tax returns. And because an e-file return costs us 20 times less to process than a paper return, this program means a more efficient government that has saved America’s taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.”

IRS e-file is an electronic transmission system that sends tax returns to IRS processing centers. Taxpayers can e-file through their tax preparers, through commercial software they use to prepare their own returns or through Free File, the free tax software and e-file program offered through IRS.gov.

Congress originally set an 80 percent goal for the electronic filing of federal tax and information returns back in 1998. E-file is now very close to that mark. Currently, more than 79 percent of taxpayers nationwide have used e-file to submit their tax returns so far this year.

In 2009, Congress passed another provision requiring tax preparers who file 10 or more tax returns to use e-file. IRS e-file has been steadily growing, but the new law, which the IRS is phasing in, brought a surge of e-filed returns for 2011. For this year, tax preparers who filed 100 or more returns were required to e-file.

For 2012, tax preparers who file 11 or more returns will be required to e-file. The requirement should put the IRS within reach of its goal of 80 percent e-file rate for individual tax returns.

The IRS also reminds taxpayers that everyone can use Free File only available through the IRS website, www.IRS.gov, to prepare and e-file their tax returns for free, either by using brand name software or Free File Fillable Forms, which is the electronic version of IRS paper forms. Individuals or families with 2010 adjusted gross incomes of $58,000 or less can use Free File software. Using Free File Fillable Forms has no income restrictions and available to all filers. For those that have not yet filed their 2010 tax returns, electronic filing will be available until Oct. 17, 2011.


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