Halfway through the filing season, the Internal Revenue Service said that 35.6 million taxpayers had chosen to have their refunds -- totaling more than $100 billion -- deposited directly into a savings or checking account this year.

That taxpayer number is up 5.2 percent over last year at the same time, and the direct-deposit total of $101.5 billion, is an 8.7 percent increase over last year at this time. Though most people are still opting to deposit into just one account, the agency said that about 37,000 taxpayers had so far taken advantage of a new option to split the refund between as many as three accounts.

Overall, electronic filing has increased by more than 4 percent since a year ago, and 76 percent of all returns have been electronically filed this tax filing season, compared to 73 percent for the same period last year. Of returns filed electronically just over 29 million have been submitted by tax professionals, a 3 percent increase from last year. Meanwhile, the number of self-prepared returns submitted electronically stood at 12.2 million, an increase of 7.5 percent.

The agency also noted that people are visiting the IRS Web site -- IRS.gov -- in record numbers. The agency recorded almost 76 million unique visits to the site, up 9 percent from a year ago.

Finally, the IRS continued to try and spread the word about the availability of the one-time telephone tax refund. So far, about three in 10 tax returns are not requesting the refund.


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