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Press Releases: Government to Citizen

March 3, 2004

E-Filing, Home Computer Use Surges

Washington D.C. - The Internal Revenue Service said today that electronic filing continues its solid growth, with early tax returns showing e-filing running more than 9 percent ahead of last year’s pace. Overall, the number of tax returns has increased 2.8 percent compared to last year.

More than 33.5 million returns have been e-filed, about 3 million more than this time last year. Returns prepared and filed from home computers have jumped 23 percent.

”We continue to see strong growth in e-filing,“ said IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson. ”More and more taxpayers are learning it’s an easy way of reliably filing tax returns. And e-filers get their refunds in half the time of those filing a paper return.“

The IRS Free File program also has shown growth. So far, the IRS has received more than 1.9 million returns through Free File, an increase of more than 24 percent from last year, when the program was introduced.

Free File is a public-private partnership between the IRS and a consortium of tax software companies that offer free e-file services to eligible taxpayers. Free File, which is available only through, gives taxpayers free access to the benefits of online tax preparation and e-filing.

"Free File helps taxpayers in underserved and disadvantaged communities, and it’s working,“ Everson said.

Each private company sets its own eligibility requirements for the Free File program. The IRS hosts the Free File Web page, but the online tax preparation occurs on the companies’ Web sites. The companies file the returns using IRS’s secure e-file transmission system. To find out more about Free File, visit the IRS Web site.

  • Tax returns filed so far show:
    • The total number of e-filed returns hit 33.5 million, a more than 9 percent increase from last year.
    • Nearly 7.7 million taxpayers have prepared and filed returns on their home computers, a 23 percent increase from last year.
    • Tax professionals have submitted more than 23 million e-filed returns, a 7.2 percent increase from last year.
    • Direct deposit of refunds climbed to nearly 28 million, a 9.3 percent increase.
Cumulative through the week ending 2/28/03 and 2/27/04
  2003 2004 %Change
Individual Income Tax Returns      
Total Receipts 47,087,000 48,390,000 2.8
Total Processed 40,003,000 42,260,000 5.6
E-filing Receipts      
Total 30,669,000 33,511,000 9.3
TeleFile (phone) 2,736,000 2,547,000 -6.9
Computer 27,933,000 30,964,000 10.9
Tax Professionals 21,700,000 23,273,000 7.2
Self-prepared 6,233,000 7,691,000 23.4
Tax Year 2003 Refunds Certified      
Number 36,907,000 38,932,000 5.5
Amount of principal $78.826 billion $86.836 billion 10.2
Average refund $2,136 $2,230 4.4
Direct Deposit Refunds      
Number 25,586,000 27,955,000 9.3
Amount $62.797 billion $70.658 billion 12.5
Average $2,454 $2,528 3.0

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