IRS News Release  
February 15, 1990

More Taxpayers Are Filing Their Returns Earlier

WASHINGTON - More taxpayers are filing their federal income tax returns earlier this year than they did last year, more of them are getting refunds, and the refunds are larger too.

As of February 9, 1990, the Internal Revenue Service received over 17 million individual income tax returns and has processed almost 6.8 million of them. This represents an increase of almost 3 percent in the number of returns received and an increase of 17 percent in the number processed. The IRS has authorized over 2 million refunds so far, up about 23 percent, and the average refund is $871.

Taxpayers who haven't filed their returns yet may want to consider getting special help with their tax questions through volunteer programs run by the IRS. This income tax filing season marks the 20th anniversary of the IRS's commitment to providing help to taxpayers through the efforts of volunteers.

Each year specially trained volunteers provide tax information, hand out tax forms and publications, answer tax questions, help owners of small businesses, and help taxpayers complete basic tax returns -- all free of charge. Last year almost 85,000 volunteers helped almost 4 million taxpayers.

The IRS volunteer program began in the 1970 filing season when 7,500 volunteers helped about 100,000 taxpayers as part of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, or VITA. In 1989 VITA volunteers helped over 1.3 million taxpayers.

Tax Counseling for the Elderly, or TCE, was set up in 1978 to help taxpayers 60 and over. Like VITA, volunteers, they work in neighborhood locations like shopping malls, churches and community centers. TCE volunteers also visit retirement homes and hospitals and even visit people who are homebound. In 1989 TCE helped almost 1.4 million taxpayers.

Volunteers must complete special tax training each year and pass a test to be certified as assistors. They also work with state taxing agencies so they can help taxpayers with their state tax returns, providing "one-stop shopping".

To find out about the locations and hours of volunteer services available locally, call the IRS toll-free telephone number for your area listed in the tax instruction package or 1- 800-424-1040.

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