The Internal Revenue Service has been getting an average of more than 50,000 extra phone calls per day as a result of questions about the economic stimulus payment, and has received 379,000 tax returns from individuals filing solely to receive the stimulus payment.
An interim report on the 2008 tax season issued by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration found that the IRS has been responding quickly to taxpayer inquiries about the stimulus payments, also known as tax rebates. Electronic filing has been on the rise this year as well. As of March 8, electronic filing has increased by 7.3 percent over the same period in 2007, the report found.
The number of taxpayers who electronically file from their home computers has increased by 15.2 percent this filing season. Use of the IRS's free online filing program rose 12.8 percent from 2007. In recent years the program had been declining in usage.
More taxpayers are opting to split their tax refund direct deposits into different bank accounts this year. As of March 8, 149,078 taxpayers attached a Form 8888 asking for their refund to be directly deposited into more than one account, compared to 52,696 taxpayers by the same time last year.
Approximately 17 million taxpayers have applied for refund anticipation loans when filing their tax returns as of March 6, 2008. The IRS has been conducting a telephone survey of some of these taxpayers. Of the 141 surveyed so far, 111 said they were unaware of free IRS tax return preparation services for which they qualify.
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