The Internal Revenue Service today opened the 2005 tax filing season, highlighted by expanded electronic services, easier tax filing rules and new tax law changes. The IRS also expects to surpass a milestone in the e-file program by the April 15 filing deadline.
The IRS will mail almost 29.5 million tax packages to Americans this week, but, increasingly, taxpayers are swapping their pencils for their mouse.
The IRS projects the number of individual taxpayers filing their taxes electronically will surpass 50 percent for the first time. More than half of the expected 133 million individual tax returns will be filed through IRS e-file in 2005. Last year, almost 62 million Americans used e-file.
In 2005, we expect more than half of all individual tax returns will be filed electronically. E-filing is fast, secure and reliable. Taxpayers who e-file will get their refunds in half the time, said Mark W. Everson, IRS Commissioner.
Taxpayers who use IRS e-file have a higher satisfaction rating than those who still use paper returns, according to the American Customer Survey Index, which rates private and public sector service industries.
The IRS is taking steps in several areas to help taxpayers. Many of these features can be found on IRS.gov, including:
The one-page Form 1040EZ is for taxpayers who have no dependents, no credits other than the Earned Income Tax Credit and no adjustments to their income. The Form 1040A is for taxpayers who do not itemize their deductions, claim limited tax credits and have few adjustments to their income.
In addition, there are recent tax law changes that affect tax returns filed in 2005 for the 2004 Tax Year.
One of the biggest involves the new sales tax deduction. Taxpayers who itemize deductions will have a choice of claiming a state and local tax deduction for either sales or income taxes on their 2004 and 2005 returns. Optional tables are available for determining the deduction amount in Publication 600, which can be found on IRS.gov.
Other tax law changes affect such areas as charitable donations, child tax credit and combat pay issues. More information is available by visiting IRS.gov.
The IRS also reminds taxpayers to claim all the credits, deductions and other tax benefits that they are legally entitled to. But the IRS urges taxpayers to be on the lookout for tax schemes and scams that can cause costly problems for unsuspecting taxpayers. When in doubt, ask the IRS or a reputable tax professional for help.
Our working equation is service plus enforcement equals compliance, Everson said. We will continue to improve customer service as we work to strengthen our enforcement efforts.