The U.S. Department of the Treasury announced two initiatives aimed at simplifying the way small businesses, individual taxpayers and tax preparers file and pay their federal taxes. The initiatives include:* Enhanced batch provider software for tax pros: New software will allow preparers to make large numbers of payments on behalf of clients with a single mouse-click by using the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System. Improvements include electronic registration and enrollment, real-time payment and enrollment data, real-time file transmission and replication, and enhanced report generation. The software can be downloaded at www.eftps.gov, under "What's New."

* E-payments: Under new temporary and proposed rule changes, nearly 950,000 small businesses are eligible to file and pay taxes once a year using the new Form 944, rather than quarterly using Form 941. Eligible businesses are those with an estimated employment tax liability of $1,000 or less.

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