IRS Reaches Electronic Filing Milestone


The Internal Revenue Service’s 27-year-old project of moving more taxpayers into electronic filing hit a milestone with the release on Wednesday of numbers showing a new e-filing rate of 83 percent of individual tax returns.

More than 122 million returns were filed electronically in 2013, 45.2 million of them from home computers, the IRS said in a release noting a 4.6 percent increase over last year’s rate. That, combined with 77 million returns filed by professional tax preparers, brings to 91 percent the portion of returns that -- even if some were printed out and mailed -- were prepared using tax computer software, greatly improving accuracy.

“The greatest growth came in the number of returns that are self-prepared and e-filed from home computers,” IRS spokesman Anthony Burke told Government Executive.

The e-filing rate -- long considered a key performance measure for the agency -- reached 80 percent in 2012, according to the IRS Oversight Board.

Another sign of improved efficiency in administering the tax code is that nearly 77 percent of the 109 million tax refunds -- which totaled $300 billion in 2013 -- were delivered to taxpayers through direct deposit. In addition, the number of Americans visiting the IRS website rose almost 24 percent in 2013 over this same time the previous year, already reaching 430 million visits, the agency reported.

Also on Wednesday, the IRS won plaudits from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, which released a report on the agency’s “successful” transition of its e-filing software from a legacy system to a modernized one during 2013.

The TIGTA audit examined IRS’ conversion to an Internet-based platform that provides a single method for filing business and individual tax returns, forms and schedules that speeds up acknowledgments to taxpayers.

“The Modernized e-File project has been a labor-intensive effort lasting more than a decade to revolutionize the way taxpayers transact and communicate with the Internal Revenue Service,” said J. Russell George, Treasury inspector general for tax administration. “So the latest fruit of this effort, the successful migration of processing all individual tax returns to this system and retirement of the Legacy e-File system, can certainly be viewed as a significant milestone for the Internal Revenue Service.”

(Image via robertlamphoto/

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

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

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security


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