The Internal Revenue Service Oversight Board released its annual report on electronic filing to Congress, recommending that the IRS' E-filing goal be extended until 2011.

The goal, part of the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998, calls for the IRS to have at least 80 percent of all returns filed electronically by the year 2007. In 2005, almost 52 percent of returns were E-filed.

The board based its recommendation on analysis of E-filing trends, which revealed that by 2011, nearly 80 percent of individuals will file their tax returns electronically, providing that current trends continue.

The board also said that there is more to accomplish if the IRS is to be perceived by taxpayers as having services on a par with financial institutions, which routinely provide customers with daily updates of accounts and immediate access to account records.

The E-file program began in 1986 as a pilot project in three cities -- Cincinnati, Phoenix and Raleigh-Durham, N.C. That year, there were 25,000 tax returns filed electronically. The program expanded nationwide in 1990, when 4.2 million tax returns were E-filed.

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