February 26, 1996
Telephone Filing Popular with Taxpayers
WASHINGTON - Filing by phone has been quite popular among
taxpayers looking for alternatives to traditional paper returns. As
of Feb. 22, the IRS had accepted over two million returns through
its TeleFile system. TeleFile is available nationwide for most
single taxpayers who would otherwise use Form 1040EZ.
"The flood of TeleFile returns confirms our view that taxpayers
are enthusiastic about new approaches that make things easier for
them," said IRS Commissioner Margaret Milner Richardson. "TeleFile
seems to have caught on."
The IRS sent special TeleFile packages to nearly 23 million
taxpayers this year, inviting them to use the paperless system. The
booklet includes a Personal Identification Number which is used as a
signature. Only those who have the special packages can use
TeleFile. The IRS does not send replacement booklets.
Taxpayers are taking advantage of the fact that TeleFile is
available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. While only 10 percent
of the calls so far have come before 10:00 am, nearly half were
between 4:00 pm and 11:00 pm. Calls have been spread fairly evenly
throughout the week, with only a slightly lower percentage of calls
on weekend days than at mid-week.
The TeleFile system prompts the caller to enter data from the
Form W-2 wage statements received. TeleFile then figures the total
income, tax, and any refund or balance due. Because of this
computerization, TeleFile returns are nearly error-free.
TeleFile is not only accurate, it's quick. The average time to
complete the filing by phone has been just under nine minutes.
The strongest response to TeleFile has come from taxpayers in
Massachusetts, where the state also offers TeleFile for state tax
returns. Over 118,000 federal TeleFile returns have already come in,
nearly twice the number expected for the whole year.
Maine, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming
have also surpassed TeleFile expectations for the year and over half
of the remaining IRS districts are ahead of projections for this
point in the filing season.
1996 FILING SEASON STATISTICS
Cumulative through the week ending 2/17/95 and 2/16/96
1995 1996 % Change
Individual Income Tax Returns
Total Receipts 28,019,000 26,205,000 -6.5
Total Processed 14,852,000 14,835,000 -0.1
Filing Alternatives -- Total Receipts:
Standard Electronic 6,720,000 6,584,000 -2.0
TeleFile 478,000 1,792,000 274.9
1040PC Format 228,000 1,005,000 340.8
Refunds Certified by the Martinsburg Computing Center:
Number 8,044,000 8,283,000 3.0
Amount of principal $8.983 bil. $12.000 bil. 33.6
Average refund $1117 $1448 29.7
(NOTE: refund data should NOT be compared to the "processed" numbers
above, since those figures reflect Service Center processing, which
is completed at least a week before refunds are certified at the
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