IRS News Release  
March 13, 1997

Tax Filing Season Successes Continue

WASHINGTON - The Internal Revenue Service is continuing its successful tax filing season, with increases in the numbers of taxpayers helped and of electronic returns filed.

"We have a number of ways to provide the help taxpayers need," said IRS Commissioner Margaret Milner Richardson. "In addition to the toll-free phone lines, that also provide automated refund information, we have a Website and a fax-on- demand system."

The IRS has significantly improved its toll-free telephone system, answering over 70 percent of callers, up about 20 percentage points from last year. The accuracy rate for these calls is 94 percent.

The IRS Website -- at -- has tax information for individuals and businesses, plus publications and forms that can be downloaded and filed. Almost 58 million visits have been paid to the Website this year.

The IRS Tax Fax -- at 703-487-4160 -- allows callers from a fax machine to follow voice prompts to have tax forms, instructions and other materials faxed back.

Tele-Tax -- at 1-800-829-4477 -- offers recorded information on over 140 tax topics, 24 hours a day. Another feature of the system allows callers to check on the status of their refunds a few weeks after filing.

Taxpayers have been making greater use of opportunities for electronic commerce with the IRS. Over 14 million returns have arrived electronically, via both computers and the file-by-phone TeleFile system, an increase of nearly 25 percent over this time last year. Nearly 10 million refunds have been deposited directly to taxpayers' bank accounts, a 39 percent increase over last year.

The IRS has processed almost $33 billion in refunds, compared with $31 billion this time last year. The average refund -- $1467 -- is almost 10 percent higher than last year's.

Cumulative through the week ending 3/8/96 and 3/7/97
                       1996                1997        % Change
Individual Income Tax Returns
Total Receipts       45,910,000         45,219,000       - 1.5
Total Processed      32,687,000         31,210,000       - 4.5 
Filing Alternatives -- Total Receipts:
Standard Electronic   9,273,000         10,921,000        17.8
TeleFile              2,284,000          3,495,000        53.0
1040PC Format         2,373,000          2,746,000        15.7
Refunds Certified by the Martinsburg Computing Center:
Number               23,154,000         22,486,000       - 2.9
Amount of principal $30.950 billion   $32.979 billion      6.6
Average refund          $1337              $1467           9.7
  (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 Computing Center)

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