E-Filed and Computer Returns Surge: The Internal Revenue Service continues to receive more tax returns electronically, with especially big increases in taxpayers e-filing from their own computers - almost 4.8 million, up 40 percent over this time last year - and for those e-filing federal and state returns together - more than 11.5 million, up 20 percent from this time last year.

The IRS does not offer free tax software or direct filing for individual taxpayers, but the e-file section of its Web site - www.irs.gov - links to a list of 20 companies that sell software or online preparation services. There are also links to companies that offer free e-filing for low-income persons or very simple tax returns.

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