Less than a week to go before April 15, and it's almost time to take a well-deserved rest after a long tax season.

That season was no doubt complicated by concerns over tax rebates, last-minute changes in the alternative minimum tax forms and worries over the sinking economy. Still, hopefully it was a productive and profitable one. The IRS has been reporting increases in tax filings this year, spurred by taxpayers who want to make sure to get not only their tax refunds, but also their tax rebates and economic stimulus payments, ASAP.

As of March 29, the IRS received nearly 87,000 returns, approximately an 8 percent increase over last year at that time. Electronic filing has also been on the rise, increasing 9.31 percent to 62,237 from 56,937. Practitioners filed over 43,000 of those returns by March 29, up from less than 41,000 at the end of March last year.

Of course, with the ever-increasing glut of extension requests, tax season is going to extend beyond April 15 at most firms to at least mid-summer. So it may not be time to kick back and celebrate just yet, though you can still give a listen to Singing CPA Steven Zelin's songs, "Tax Busters" and "Tax Deductible," at http://cdbaby.com/cd/zelin3 in the meantime.

The year ahead is likely to be a big one for taxes, with Congress already debating tax breaks on mortgages and state lawmakers debating taxes on computer services, music downloads, pet sales and more. A client's tax returns probably won't attract quite as much scrutiny as the Clintons', but making sure clients get the right attention and care will help ensure they'll come back next tax season with more repeat business for your firm.


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