The Internal Revenue Service kicked off tax season this week, saying it plans to mail 16.5 million tax packages to taxpayers this month who have filed paper returns in the past, but the packages won't include any tax credit forms because of delays in patching the alternative minimum tax.

Taxpayers will have to download the tax credit forms from the Web site. The IRS is still encouraging most taxpayers to file electronically and noted that the number of paper packages has dropped rapidly in recent years, down by about half from 34 million packages in just four years. Last year, nearly 80 million tax returns were filed electronically, or about 57 percent of all returns.

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