IRS News Release  
February 28, 2002

Early Filers Overwhelmingly Choose
Direct Deposit For Refunds

WASHINGTON - Most early tax filers not only get refunds, they get them quickly by choosing Direct Deposit. According to new data from the Internal Revenue Service, 70 percent of this year´s refunds were being deposited directly to a bank account. As of Feb. 22, there were more than 20 million Direct Deposit refunds, an 11.6 percent increase from nearly 18 million at the same time last year.

“Direct Deposit is fast, safe and convenient,” said IRS Commissioner Charles O. Rossotti. “You can use it whether you file electronically or on paper. It also saves tax dollars – it costs less than sending a paper check.”

Taxpayers who combine e-filing of their returns with direct deposit of their refunds can get their money in as soon as 10 days, with the average being about 14 days. Paper return filers generally get their Direct Deposit refunds within four weeks, although that wait time gets longer for those who file close to the April 15 deadline.

To choose Direct Deposit, put the routing and account numbers for your checking or savings account on your tax return, just after the refund amount. The tax instructions include an illustration of where these numbers appear on a check. In some cases, you may need to contact your financial institution for the numbers. Double check your return to be sure you have the entered all the digits correctly.

Unlike checks, Direct Deposits can´t be lost or stolen, and they don´t require a trip to the bank. Each year, the IRS gets back tens of thousands of undeliverable checks, which might never have occurred if the taxpayers had used Direct Deposit.

There is no minimum amount required to use Direct Deposit, although taxpayers seem more likely to use it if they have a larger refund. The average Direct Deposit this year is $2,475, a few hundred dollars more than the $2,154 average for all refunds.

2002 Filing Season Statistics

Cumulative through the week ending 2/23/01 and 2/22/02 

                    2001           2002     % Change
Individual Income Tax Returns
Total Receipts    38,949,000    38,900,000    - 0.1 
Total Processed   30,280,000    31,188,000      3.0 

E-filing Receipts: 
TOTAL             22,875,000    24,993,000      9.3      
TeleFile (phone)   2,926,000     2,670,000    - 8.7      
Computer          19,949,000    22,323,000     11.9       
Tax Professionals 16,987,000    18,233,000      7.3       
Self-prepared      2,962,000     4,090,000     38.1 

Refunds Certified by the Martinsburg Computing Center: 
Number            27,684,000    28,638,000      3.4 
Amount of principal  $53.352 b.    $61.677 b.  15.6
Average refund        $1,927        $2,154     11.8

Direct Deposit Refunds:
Number            17,997,000    20,085,000     11.6 
Amount               $40.830 b.    $49.700 b.  21.7 
Average               $2,269        $2,475      9.1

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