Observers predict that this year's e-filing season, which kicked off on January 13, will far outpace previous years in terms of the number of e-filed returns."We experienced a big surge compared to last year," said Jo Ann Cummings, product manager for CCH's Torrance, Calif.-based ProSystem fx Tax. "We e-filed over 3 million returns last year, and we expect a big increase in that."

"Twice as many filed during the first three hours of e-file this year compared to last year," echoed Julie Kozloski, product manager of Intuit's Lacerte and ProSeries e-file. "Last year we had a 20 percent increase over the previous year, and this year will probably trend that way or even show a greater increase. This year, a lot of preparers were ready to go right out of the gate, and there are a lot more preparers coming on board as [electronic return originators]."

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