Only time will tell whether the bane of the 2006 tax filing year for the Internal Revenue Service is the scam-prone telephone tax refunds, or confusion around a number of extender provisions not included on the agency’s original forms that seems destined to arrive soon.The agency urged taxpayers to check and see if they qualify for the telephone excise tax refund after more than 10 million early filers did not request the one-time refund. In the first release of the year’s weekly filing season statistics, about 30 percent of all taxpayers did not request the telephone tax refund. Nearly half of those returns -- more than 4.8 million -- were completed by a tax preparer.

“We are surprised how many tax preparers are overlooking the telephone tax refund,” said IRS Commissioner Mark Everson, in a statement.

Early filings also showed e-file returns up nearly 3 percent, with e-filed returns prepared by individuals (on home computers) up 7 percent, and filed returns prepared by tax professionals up just less than 1 percent, compared to a year ago. Through Feb. 16, the average refund was $2,733, nearly $100 more than last year.

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