IRS News Release  
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 last year.

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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