IRS News Release  
February 10, 1997

Electronic Filing for Personal Computer Users

WASHINGTON - If you have a modem, you can file your tax return from your personal computer through the Internal Revenue Servicežs On-Line Filing Program. Last year, 158,000 taxpayers filed their returns this way.

To file by computer, a taxpayer first completes the tax return using IRS-accepted software. Such software may be found at computer stores or downloaded from participating Web sites. The IRS Web site -- -- has a list of accepted software for the On-Line Filing Program. This list is also on the IRIS at FedWorld bulletin board, accessible directly by modem at 703-321-8020.

The taxpayer transmits the completed tax return file to the on-line filing company, which converts the file to the format meeting IRS specifications for electronic filing. The on-line filing company then transmits the return file to the IRS. Within 48 hours, the IRS will notify the taxpayer through the on-line filing company if the return is accepted or, if not, which items the taxpayer must correct.

After the IRS accepts the return, the taxpayer mails any W-2 forms to the IRS along with a signed Form 8453-OL. This one-page signature document is provided by either the tax preparation software or the on-line filing company.

Each on-line taxpayer may transmit up to three income tax returns -- for example, a married couple could transmit their joint return and the returns for two of their children. Some software packages also offer on-line filing for state tax returns.

Electronic filing offers greater accuracy, acknowledgement that IRS accepts the return, an earlier refund and direct deposit of the refund to the taxpayer's checking or savings account. A taxpayer who owes additional tax still has until April 15 to send the payment.

The IRS does not charge anything for On-Line Filing, but the on-line filing company may charge a small transmission fee. Because of program changes that have reduced work for these companies, fees are generally lower than last year. The tax preparation software packages have details on affiliated companies and fees.

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