IRS News Release  
February 06, 1991

Electronic Tax Filing Off to A Fast Start

About one-sixth of all taxpayers who filed their 1990 federal income tax returns in January opted to file electronically, doubling the rate of electronic tax filing for the same time period last year.

In a release of the first filing season statistics, the Internal Revenue Service said that while the total number of returns filed is down slightly from the same period in 1990, electronic returns grew from 608,000 last year to 1.2 million as of February 1, 1991.

Taxpayers who file electronically and have their refunds deposited directly into their bank accounts can have their refunds about two weeks after the IRS gets the return. Electronic filing also lessens the chance that math mistakes or keypunch errors will slow down processing and the taxpayer gets an acknowledgment from the IRS when the return is accepted for processing.

Last year the IRS received 4.2 million electronically filed refund returns and expects to get about 6 million this year.

More than 500,000 taxpayers have already gotten their refunds, the IRS said, and refund amounts are up. Last year the average refund for January-filed returns was $827 and has increased to $981. The IRS pointed out that taxpayers who file early typically are due refunds and can expect to get them in four to six weeks, or less if the return is filed electronically.

The IRS is offering special help to military personnel and civilians serving in Operation Desert Storm and their families who want to file for their refunds, including free electronic filing in those IRS offices with that capability.

Those persons serving in the combat zone, or who served in Operation Desert Shield but left the area before Jan. 17, 1991, should write the words "Desert Storm" on their tax returns, envelopes and any IRS correspondence they receive. This will alert IRS to their entitlement to tax relief, including extra time to file, interest payments on delayed refunds, suspension of collection and examination actions and suspension of interest charges on back taxes.

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