IRS News Release  
March 23, 2005

Free File Tops Last Year's Total

WASHINGTON - The Internal Revenue Service announced today that more people have used Free File this year than for all of last year. As of March 16, 3.55 million tax returns have gone through Free File, up 44 percent compared to the same time last year and exceeding last year´s total of 3.51 million.

"This is another record-setting year for Free File," said IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson. "The success of Free File reflects a broader increase in the overall e-file program. People like the ease and convenience of filing electronically."

Electronic filing continues to show a strong increase, with e-filed tax returns running almost 7 percent ahead of last year. The biggest increase is being seen in home computer use, which is up almost 15 percent.

The IRS and a consortium of tax software manufacturers offer free services through Free File, which is available at Free File is in its third year.

People e-filed 45.9 million returns through March 18 – up almost 3 million over last year´s numbers.

Out of 67 million returns filed as of March 18, 68 percent of them were e-filed – up from 63 percent the previous year. While this percentage will decline as April 15 approaches, the IRS expects for the first time to have more than half of all individual tax returns filed electronically.

Record numbers of individuals are choosing to have their refunds directly deposited into their bank accounts. So far this year, 66 percent of all refunds are through direct deposit – up from 62 percent over the same period last year.

Taxpayers who e-file and choose direct deposit get their refunds in half the time of those who file a paper return. Even paper filers, however, can get the benefit of direct deposit by choosing that option on their tax forms; they will get their refunds a week sooner than waiting for a paper check.

2005 Filing Season Statistics
Cumulative through the week ending 3/19/04 and 3/18/05

  2004 2005 % Change
Individual Income Tax Returns
Total Receipts 68,183,000 67,377,000 -1.2
Total Processed 63,221,000 63,455,000   0.4
E-filing Receipts:
TOTAL 43,049,000 45,936,000   6.7
TeleFile (phone) 2,972,000 2,543,000 -14.4
Computer 40,077,000 43,393,000   8.3
Tax Professionals 30,197,000 32,064,000   6.2
Self-prepared 9,880,000 11,329,000 14.7
Tax Year 2004 Refunds Certified:
Number 57,516,000 57,158,000 -0.6
Amount $122.373 billion $129.116 billion   5.5
Average $2,128 $2,259   6.2
Direct Deposit Refunds
Number 33,918,000 37,949,000   5.7
Amount $89.001 billion $99.208 billion 11.5
Average $2,478 $2,614   5.5

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