At the mid-point of tax filing season, taxpayers have used e-filing at a record rate, according to the Internal Revenue Service. Out of 47 million returns filed through Feb. 25, 74 percent of them were e-filed -- up from 69 percent last year. While this percentage traditionally declines as April 15 approaches, the IRS expects for the first time to have more than half of all individual tax returns filed electronically. Of the 35 million returns that have been e-filed so far this year, the biggest jump comes from self-prepared tax returns filed with a computer, which have increased nearly 14 percent to 8.7 million returns. The jump in computer use coincides with another strong year for the Free File program. More than 2.77 million returns came in through Free File through Feb. 23, which is a 42.6 percent increase from last year's 1.94 million returns. "E-filing is making a strong start," said IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson. "Taxpayers and tax professionals are becoming increasingly comfortable with e-filing." The growth in e-filing comes as record tax refunds are being sent to taxpayers. The average refund so far is $2,436 -- a record amount and more than $200 more than last year. So far this year, three out of four taxpayers receiving refunds have used direct deposit.
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