With the April 15 tax filing deadline looming, the Internal Revenue Service says that e-filing, direct deposit and e-payment programs continue to move at record paces so far this year.

Through April 8, taxpayers e-filed 55.8 million tax returns -- up almost 8 percent from the same period last year. Overall, 63 percent of all returns up to that date were e-filed -- up from 58 percent for the same period last year. While this percentage will decline as the final rush of April 15 tax returns are processed, the IRS expects for the first time to have more than half of all individual tax returns filed electronically.

The IRS said that its Free File program is also setting new records. As of April 6, the agency had accepted 4.16 million tax returns through Free File -- a 44.2 percent increase over the same period last year.

The number of individuals opting to have their refunds directly deposited into their bank accounts is also ahead of last year. More than 44 million refunds have been paid through direct deposit so far this year, up 5.9 percent for the same time last year.

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