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More Taxpayers Are Filing From Home in 2011, Free File Options Abound

IR-2011-24, March 4, 2011

WASHINGTON — Almost 19 million tax returns have been filed with the IRS from home computers so far this year, an increase of almost 6 percent compared to the number of returns from the same time last year.

IRS reminds taxpayers that everyone can use Free File to prepare and e-file their tax returns for free, either by using brand name software or Free File Fillable Forms, which is the electronic version of IRS paper forms. Individuals or families with 2010 adjusted gross incomes of $58,000 or less can use Free File software. Using Free File Fillable Forms has no income restrictions.

Free File software is a product of a public-private partnership between the IRS and the Free File Alliance, LLC. The Alliance is a consortium of approximately 20 tax software providers who make versions of their products available exclusively on line. All Free File members must meet certain security requirements and use the latest in encryption technology to protect taxpayers’ information.

The easiest way to locate a software provider is to use the online tool that, with a little of a taxpayer’s personal information, can identify matching products. Or, taxpayers can review all providers and their offers. Some software providers also offer state income tax preparation for free or for a fee. 

This is the third year that the Free File Alliance has provided the Free Fillable Forms program, which is like completing a Form 1040 online, except the program performs some math calculations and provides links to some IRS publications. However, it does not use the familiar question-and-answer format used by tax preparation software. It also does not support state income tax returns. Taxpayers can e-file the forms for free. Taxpayers must access the tax products through IRS.gov to avoid any charges for preparing or e-filing a federal tax return.

The total number of individual income tax returns that have been e-filed this year is 46.9 million, an increase of 2 percent from the same time last year. E-file includes both returns filed from home computers and returns e-filed by professional tax return preparers.

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2011 FILING SEASON STATISTICS

Cumulative through the weeks ending 02/26/10 and 02/25/11

Individual Income Tax Returns

2010

2011

% Change

Total Receipts

  53,556,000

51,927,000

-3.0%

Total Processed

49,751,000

49,278,000

-1.0%

 

 

 

 

E-filing Receipts:

 

 

 

TOTAL

45,873,000

46,868,000

  2.2%

Tax Professionals

28,048,000

27,983,000

-0.2%

Self-prepared

17,826,000

18,885,000

  5.9%

 

 

 

 

Web Usage:

 

 

 

Visits to IRS.gov

98,691,224

107,028,830

8.5

 

 

 

 

Total Refunds:

 

 

 

Number

45,544,000

45,077,000

-1.0%

Amount

$143.417

Billion

$141.054

Billion

-1.6%

Average refund

$3,149

$3,129

-0.6%

 

 

 

 

Direct Deposit Refunds:

 

 

 

Number

39,569,000

39,821,000

  0.6%

Amount

$130.774

Billion

$129.684

Billion

  -0.8%

Average refund

$3,305

$3,257

  -1.5%

Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 17-Aug-2012