Washington (May 17, 2004) -- The number of returns filed electronically this tax season jumped more than 15 percent to a record 60 million, according to the latest Internal Revenue Service statistics.
 
The 15.4 percent increase in e-filed returns shattered the total number of electronic returns for all of last year by 7 million, according to filing season data through April 30.
 
"It seems safe to say that next year we will reach a milestone, with half of all individual returns being processed electronically," said IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson, who noted that e-filing has more than doubled in size during the past five years.
 
Self-prepared tax returns that were e-filed by computer jumped 21.7 percent, topping 14 million, while tax professional use of e-filing jumped 15.8 percent to 41.7 million. In its second year, Free File , the public-private partnership between the IRS and a consortium of tax software companies, saw 3.4 million taxpayers use the free online filing service -- an increase of 22 percent over last year.
 
Taxpayers made more than 19.2 million inquiries this year using the "Where's My Refund?" feature of the IRS Web site. Nearly 47 million taxpayers opted to have their refunds deposited directly to their accounts this year, up 11 percent from 2003. The IRS expects the numbers to grow through the Aug. 15 and Oct. 15 extension deadlines.

-- WebCPA staff

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