It's official: Taxpayers who file paper returns are in the minority, the Internal Revenue Service reported.

Capping off a record-setting filing season, the IRS said that for the first time, more than half of all taxpayers filed their returns electronically.

The recent filing season set a series of records, including the electronic filing of 66 million tax returns a 17 percent jump in home computer usage, according to the agency.

The IRS said that the jump in e-filing reflected a big upswing in the use of several electronic services. In addition, the agency said that it saw new records for Free File and other e-file categories, and increases in the use of its Web site and its "Where's My Refund" tool.

"The IRS saw a strong, smooth filing season across the board," said IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson, who called 2005 "one of the best filing seasons we've ever seen."

Through April 22, 2005, the IRS received 66 million returns through e-file -- up almost 11 percent from the same time last year, and well over the 62 million electronic returns received for all of 2004.

Free File returns jumped 46 percent from the same period last year, to 5.01 million. The IRS said that Free File represents 30 percent of returns filed online, up from 24 percent for the same period last year, and accounts for 7.6 percent of all e-filed returns, compared to 5.8 percent for the same period last year.

Nearly 17 million taxpayers filed from a home computer, up 17 percent from the same time last year, and 2 million more than for all of 2004. Tax professionals filed 46 million returns, up more than 10 percent from the same period last year.

By April 22, the IRS had issued 84.7 million refunds averaging $2,144 per refund. More than half were issued through direct deposit.

Nearly 928,000 taxpayers paid by credit card, a 57 percent increase from the same period in 2004.

The IRS said that its Web site saw almost twice as many visits as in the last filing season, and almost 46 percent more people used "Where's My Refund?" on this year than last year.

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