The 2002 tax season heads into its final weeks with interim numbers up in every category except TeleFile returns, according to the latest Internal Revenue Service filing statistics. Total individual returns received so far are 3.6 percent ahead of last year at the same point in the season, and total returns processed so far are up 5 percent over last year.

More dramatically, the volume of e-filed returns is up a whopping 13 percent over last year. As of mid-March, e-filed returns prepared by tax professionals exceeded 24 million, an 11-percent increase over last year. Refunds certified by the Martinsburg, W. Va., Computing Center averaged $2,004, up 11.9 percent from last year.

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