The Internal Revenue Service wants taxpayers to know that they can receive their tax refunds this year in the form of a U.S. savings bond made out in someone else’s name.

Last year, if the taxpayer chose to receive a savings bond as part of the refund, it could only be issued in the taxpayers’ name. This year, taxpayers can designate anyone to receive a savings bond and also designate the co-owner or beneficiary. Also a new section was added to Form 8888, Allocation of Refund (Including Savings Bond Purchases), for entering savings bond information so that taxpayers no longer need to enter a pre-specified routing number. Instead, taxpayers will enter the bond owner’s name. The savings bonds will be mailed to the taxpayer or the person designated on the form.

In addition to savings bonds, taxpayers can receive their refunds in the form of payments to retirement accounts, mutual funds, cash directly deposited to a checking or savings account, and a traditional check.

By March 4, the IRS had issued more than 52 million refunds worth $161 billion for an average refund of $3,070.

Taxpayers who claim a tax refund on Form 1040 can use Form 8888 to split their refunds, the IRS noted. Refunds can be directed into bank accounts and other financial institutions where their mutual funds or retirement accounts are managed and to purchase U.S. Series I Savings Bonds.

Taxpayers can choose to use a portion of the refund to buy up to $5,000 in low-risk savings bonds, which earn interest and protect owners against inflation. The bonds must be purchased in $50 increments. Direct deposit of any remaining refund amounts is no longer required. Paper checks can be requested for the balance.

During 2010, more than 99,000 bonds were purchased using Form 8888, totaling more than $11 million. To check the status of a bond purchase request, go to the “Where’s My Refund” section of the IRS Web site, www.irs.gov. If the IRS has already processed the refund and placed the request for the bond, then the tax filer should contact Treasury Retail Securities at 1 (800) 245-2804.

The filing season statistics for the week ending March 4 are provided below:

2011 FILING SEASON STATISTICS

Cumulative through the weeks ending 03/05/10 and 03/04/11

Individual Income Tax Returns

2010

2011

% Change

Total Receipts

 61,287,000

60,536,000

-1.2%

Total Processed

57,211,000

58,282,000

 1.9%

 

 

 

 

E-filing Receipts:

 

 

 

TOTAL

51,600,000

53,863,000

 4.4%

Tax Professionals

31,880,000

32,680,000

 2.5%

Self-prepared

19,720,000

21,182,000

 7.4%

 

 

 

 

Web Usage:

 

 

 

Visits to IRS.gov

109,663,929

119,793,481

9.2

 

 

 

 

Total Refunds:

 

 

 

Number

51,980,000

52,564,000

 1.1%

Amount

$160.185

Billion

$161.345

Billion

 0.7%

Average refund

$3,082

$3,070

-0.4%

 

 

 

 

Direct Deposit Refunds:

 

 

 

Number

44,032,,000

45,357,000

 3.0%

Amount

$143.600

Billion

$145.972

Billion

  1.7%

Average refund

$3,261

$3,218

 -1.3%

 

 

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