IRS News Release  
December 05, 1995

Paperless Tax Returns Just a
Phone Call Away

WASHINGTON - Millions of Americans who enjoy the convenience of shopping or banking by phone will also be able to file their federal income taxes simply by making a short telephone call. The Internal Revenue Service's file-by-phone program will expand nationwide in 1996. And, like shopping and banking by phone, TeleFile will now be totally paperless.

About 23 million taxpayers who now use the 1040EZ form will be able to use a touch-tone telephone instead. The taxpayers will end their call by using a Personal Identification Number that will substitute for the signature required on paper returns.

"Filing taxes doesn't get any easier than this," said IRS Commissioner Margaret Milner Richardson as she announced the expansion and improvements in the program. "TeleFile will not only save taxpayers time and trouble, but will also make the IRS more efficient," she added.

After the taxpayer provides requested income information, TeleFile will compute the tax and announce how large the taxpayer's refund, if any, will be. Such refunds will generally be received within three weeks. Or, it will tell the taxpayer how much additional tax is due. The call will be completed by a confirmation number which the taxpayer can later use if there are any subsequent questions. The entire telephone transaction will take less than 10 minutes.

To be eligible for TeleFile, a taxpayer must receive the special tax booklet containing the PIN, and meet the following conditions:

  • be single with no dependents,
  • have taxable income of less than $50,000,
  • have filed a tax return previously, and
  • be at the same address as last year.

"This is our latest effort to cut paperwork and make it easier for taxpayers," said Richardson, noting that electronically filed returns contained fewer errors and were easier to process.

TeleFile has been tested in select areas since 1992. This year, nearly 700,000 taxpayers in ten states filed by phone.

TeleFile access will be available 24 hours daily and taxpayers will have the option of using the system in English or Spanish.

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