IRS News Release  
February 12, 1992

IRS Tele-Tax System Helps
Millions of Taxpayers

WASHINGTON - Over 23 million taxpayers got their tax questions answered last year by computers and recorded tapes, outplaying calls to live assistors. So far this filing season, calls to the IRS Tele-Tax system are up 50 percent, with over three million already handled.

Tax returns filed so far are up 7.6 percent over the same period last year, with electronic filings up 60 percent. The average refund is $1,124, a 17 percent increase. The IRS said this may be due to early filers claiming the Earned Income Credit.

Most Tele-Tax callers are trying to find out when the IRS will send their refunds. This information is updated weekly. After mailing their return, taxpayers should allow a few weeks for IRS processing before calling.

The most requested tax subject concerns rules for claiming a dependent. The five rules are:

  • you must have provided over half the person's support;
  • the person's 1991 income must be under $2,150, except for your child who is under 19 or is a full-time student under age 24;
  • the person must be your relative or have lived with you for the whole year;
  • the person must be a U.S. citizen or resident, or a resident of Canada or Mexico; and
  • the person must not have filed a joint return with his or her spouse, unless neither had income over $2,150.

Other popular tapes are those explaining the Earned Income Credit, electronic filing, business use of cars and which form to use. The IRS tax instruction books have a list of the 140 topics and directions on how to use the system.

Touch-tone users can get tax tapes 24 hours a day and refund information from 7:00 AM to 11:30 PM weekdays. Others can call for both services during regular business hours. In addition to a nationwide toll-free number -- 1-800-829-4477 -- many large cities have a local Tele-Tax number.

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