When the IRS said it wanted to modernize its operations, it apparently meant it. The agency announced this week that it is readying a move to XML for e-filed corporate income tax returns and schedules K-1 for the 2004 filing season. Terence H. Lutes, director of the IRS Office of Electronic Tax Administration, said on the IRS Tax Talk Today Webcast that this will allow a free flow of data between accounting schedules and tax forms, and will provide the IRS with a single data standard.

This could pave the way for the IRS to fully embrace XML--Extensible Markup Language--and its business/accounting specification XBRL--Extensible Business Reporting Language—which allows the entering of financial information just once for a variety of uses by tagging the information in a way that provides for easy retrieval and merging of separate documents.

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