The Internal Revenue Service improved most of its filing season services during 2007, but there are still opportunities for better performance this coming season, according to a new report.

The Government Accountability Office said tax return processing this year exceeded last year's performance by most measures, with electronic filing growing at a faster rate than the IRS had anticipated. The accuracy of answers provided by the IRS to questions from callers was about 90 percent and the performance of the IRS's Web site has also improved.

However, the GAO noted that the IRS could reduce the number of paper tax returns it processes by mandating electronic filing and the bar coding of returns prepared on computers. The GAO also said the IRS could transcribe all the lines from paper returns to make the data more available for enforcement.

The GAO recommended that the IRS determine the actions needed to require software vendors to include bar codes on printed returns. The report also recommended that the IRS develop estimates of the effectiveness of its volunteer program and determine the feasibility of using a recording system to record and assess the quality of interactions at its walk-in sites.

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