March 01, 1989
Taxpayers Continue to File at Faster Pace
Taxpayers continue to file their federal income tax returns at
a faster pace than last year, and filers of the two "short forms"
are leading the way.
Receipts are up 7.5 percent for Form 1040A and 6.8 percent for
Form 1040EZ, with overall receipts of all three individual income
tax forms up 2 percent. Receipts of Form 1040 are down about 4
percent. These figures suggest that many taxpayers who filed Form
1040 in the past may be switching to the simpler, shorter forms.
Those who file early in the season can expect their refunds
early, and the Internal Revenue Service reported that so far it
has certified 8.3 million refunds -- up 9 percent from last year.
The average refund is $825, compared to $793 last year. The
figures for returns processed at the service centers during the
week ending February 24 are down about 20 percent, but the IRS
said that this is because of the Presidents Day holiday that fell
during the week.
Once again electronic filing is up. Almost 665,000 returns
so far have been filed electronically, compared to 152,000 at
this point last year. The IRS offers electronic filing in 36
states this year and will offer it in all 50 states next year.
The IRS also said that more calls than ever before are
coming in on the toll-free Tele-Tax system of recorded tax
messages and automated refund information. As of February 25,
Tele-Tax received 5.4 million calls, compared to 2 million calls
This year the IRS added more phone lines so callers will be
less likely to receive a busy signal and enhanced the part of the
system that provides automated refund information. Local phone
numbers for Tele-Tax are listed in the tax packages; in areas
without a local number, call 1-800-554-4477.
Last year the most popular of the more than 140 taped
messages concerned miscellaneous expenses (tape number 308),
interest expenses (305), moving expenses (304), business use of
the home (309), and capital gains and losses (209). The IRS
updated all the Tele-Tax tapes to reflect changes in the law and
this year added a new tape (number 223) on catastrophic coverage
under Medicare, with information on the need of some taxpayers to
adjust withholding or estimated tax payments in 1989,
Also available this year is tape number 999, with
information on local IRS office hours and schedules for such
services as self-help classes on filing forms, Volunteer Income
Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE).
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