Taxpayers doesn't seem to be returning to pencil and paper after the Internal Revenue Service discontinued its TeleFile service.

In the first release of tax filing statistics this year, the agency said that the percentage of electronically filed returns has increased, alongside a big increase in home computer use.

Through early March, more than 39.5 million taxpayers have already e-filed. Home computer use is up 16.5 percent, and e-filing by tax professionals is up nearly 4 percent.

Out of the 54 million tax returns filed so far this year, e-filing represents 73 percent of the total returns, a slight uptick in the percentage of electronically filed returns for the comparable period last year. Just 3 million people used TeleFile a year ago. The IRS shut the system down last summer, saying that a decline in use for most forms, increasing costs to maintain the system and more people turning to other electronic filing alternatives had led to the decision.

"The home computer is increasingly replacing the paper tax form," said IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson, in a statement.

Other released figures included:

  • Since January, the IRS Web site had 70.4 million visits, up almost 6 percent from last year. Last week alone, the site had more than 7.2 million visits, up nearly 9 percent from last year.
  • So far this year, 629,251 credit card payments have been made by individual taxpayers, up 41 percent, compared to 448,547 for the same period last year. These payments represent $355 million, a nearly 50 percent increase from the same period last year.

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