The Internal Revenue Service reported Friday that tax season is off to a strong start this year, with the tax-filing volume running ahead of last year so far.

Most taxpayers are filing their returns electronically and choosing direct deposit for their refunds, according to the IRS.

As of Jan. 31, the IRS said it has received more than 14 million tax returns this year. More than 13 million of those returns have been filed electronically, an indication that more taxpayers are realizing the benefits that e-filing offers.

“We encourage taxpayers to e-file their returns since it is the quickest, safest and most accurate way to file and the fastest way to get a refund,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen in a statement. “We also urge taxpayers to take advantage of the many online resources available through our web site.”

IRS.gov has been accessed more than 65 million times this year, up 49 percent from the same time last year, according to the IRS.

The IRS has issued 7.6 million refunds worth $26.8 billion; the average refund is worth $3,539. More than 96 percent of all refunds have been paid through direct deposit. All total, 7.3 million refunds worth $26.2 billion have been directly deposited to taxpayer accounts. The IRS is encouraging taxpayers to file a complete and accurate return to prevent refund delays or discrepancies, and recently warned that refunds for tax returns filed on paper would face longer delays this year than normal due to budget cuts.

Mobile App
Separately, the IRS also said Friday that it has released an updated version of its smartphone app, IRS2Go, for Apple and Android devices. The app allows taxpayers to check on their tax refund status, find free tax prep providers who are part of the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and the Tax Counseling for the Elderly Programs.

The app enables users to follow the IRS on Twitter at @IRSnews or @IRSenEspanol, watch helpful videos on YouTube, sign up for email updates, or use the Contact Us feature.

The app is available for Android devices from the Google Play Store or for Apple devices from the Apple App Store. 

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