Tax season begins with policy changes, e-filing push

The Internal Revenue Service began the 2007 income-tax-filing season by encouraging all taxpayers to file their returns electronically. The agency also released guidance on how to cope with last-minute changes in tax policy in 2006 and information on federal excise-tax refunds.

Currently taxpayers who wish to file electronically can do so by going to authorized tax preparers, using over-the-counter software, or going through the Free File program, according to an IRS spokeswoman. The program allows free e-filing for eligible taxpayers and is headed by the Free File Alliance and the IRS.

The agency announced that ancillary offerings such as solicitations for refund loans -- which sometimes carry high interest charges and fees -- will be removed from Free File this month.

The IRS has advised the public that taxpayers who file their taxes electronically will get their refunds faster and drastically reduce their chances of making errors. In order to address the people who do not have Internet access or computers, IRS spokeswoman Nancy Mathis said "the IRS partners with organizations that operate 12,000 free tax-preparation physical sites nationwide to help lo-income and elderly people to file their taxes."

Mathis said that currently, paper returns must be manually entered into electronic forms by IRS employees. In 2006, roughly 54 percent of taxpayers filed electronically, she said. Money saved from new technology has been diverted to customer service and enforcement, Mathis added.

The IRS also has advised taxpayers to visit its Web site in order to receive information on how a new law affects their taxes.

This year, individual taxpayers can request refunds if they paid the federal excise tax on long-distance or bundled telephone service between Feb. 28, 2003, and Aug. 1, 2006. The government stopped collecting the tax on long-distance service in August 2006. The IRS expects more than 146 million individual taxpayers to request the refund.

The e-filing system has been updated to reflect the elimination of that tax, but paper forms went to print before the law was enacted in December.

Members of the 110th Congress wasted no time last week introducing bills that would eliminate the remaining portion of the tax that applies to customers who receive only local phone service. Sens. John Ensign, R-Nev., and Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., filed measures on the subject.

IRS.gov at times is one of the most heavily visited Web sites in the world and so the agency has tried to make the site more user friendly, Mathis noted.

Over the last couple of years, the IRS increasingly has offered new online tools to help educate taxpayers. Mathis said one of the most popular features allows users to check the status of their tax filings and track their refunds.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.