IRS News Release  
January 15, 1991

IRS Offers Easier Filing Option

WASHINGTON - The IRS is giving some taxpayers an option of filing an even shorter form -- 1040EZ-1 -- part of it's ongoing effort to find new ways to reduce taxpayers' filing burden.

About 3000 taxpayers who live in Texas and received the Form 1040EZ tax package this year will be asked to choose between filing the 1040EZ and an even simpler Form 1040EZ-1.

Using the optional form, these taxpayers can file their 1990 tax returns by simply signing the form, attaching copies of their W-2 forms, writing in the amount of any taxable interest income, and mailing the form to the IRS. No calculations are needed. The IRS will then compute the tax and send a refund or bill for any tax due.

Taxpayers asked to participate will receive a letter which gives instructions on how to use the form which is on the reverse side of the letter. All returns filed as part of the text will be processed at the Austin (TX) Service Center. Those who do not want to participate may use the regular Form 1040EZ from the tax package already mailed to them.

Of the 113 million tax forms the IRS expects to receive this filing season, about 20 million will be 1040EZs.

The test participants were selected randomly from those taxpayers whose 1989 tax forms showed addresses with Texas ZIP codes. The IRS chose to conduct the test in Texas because it is one of the more populous states having no state income tax. This is an important factor since taxpayers often need to refer to a copy of their federal income tax return when filing the state return.

The IRS said that today's announcement is part of the overall effort to simplify tax filing. IRS Commissioner Fred Goldberg said, "As tax administrators, the most important goal we have is to make it less complicated for the average American taxpayer to meet his or her responsibility to file and pay their taxes. We take seriously our commitment to look for new ways to do just that. But we need ideas and suggestions form the public and others who are interested in making the tax system work better."

As part of this effort the IRS began holding town meetings across the country several years ago to let the public have a chance to suggest tax forms changes.

Other improvements include changing the Form 1040A for the 1991 filing season to let elderly taxpayers reporting retirement income avoid filing the more complicated long form 1040. By changing the Form 1040A in this manner it also means that those who file the simplest return -- Form 1040EZ -- now receive a smaller tax package with just their form and instructions in it. A simplified self-employment tax form developed in 1988 is now used by more then 95% of the 674,000 taxpayers who are required to file the form.

The IRS also pointed out that filing tax returns electronically is another important way taxpayers can reduce the time and effort needed to file returns. More than 4.2 million taxpayers used this method in 1990, the first year the electronic filing option was available to taxpayers throughout the country.

Today's announcement is the result of a cooperative effort by the IRS with the Office of Management and Budget and the Presidential Council on Competitiveness, chaired by Vice President Quayle.

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