Washington (Feb. 26, 2003) -- More than 1 million people so far have prepared and e-filed their taxes by using Free File, the new public-private partnership between the Internal Revenue Service and a consortium of tax software companies that offer free services to eligible taxpayers.

In its first five weeks, Free File logged approximately 1.3 million returns filed by taxpayers who met the software consortium’s criteria on age, income or state residency, according to the IRS.

"We are off to a strong start for the Free File program. For 1.3 million taxpayers, the benefits of Free File are invaluable. It's giving more people free access to the benefits of e-filing," said acting IRS commissioner Bob Wenzel.

Among other highlights for the 2003 filing season through late February:

  • Total e-file receipts - 27 million, a 8.1 percent increase from last year;
  • Average certified refund - $2,195, a 1.9 percent increase from last year;
  • Direct deposit refunds - $55.8 billion, a 12.3 percent increase from last year.

-- Electronic Accountant Newswire staff

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