The federal Internal Revenue Service recently released data on e-filing which shows that the percentage of personal income tax returns filed electronically has more than doubled in ten years.
The IRS reported an e-file rate of 30.73 percent (40.244 million returns) in 2001 and an e-file rate of 69.76 percent ((98.74 million returns) in 2010.
The numbers parallel those reported for Massachusetts state income tax filers.
In 2001, DOR reported an e-file rate of 29.38 percent (929,951 returns) and an e-file rate of 71.31 percent (2.418 million returns) in 2010.
The convenience of e-filing and the public's increasing comfort with using technology have driven these rates of increase. Needless to day, e-filing speeds the processing of most tax returns and allows for a quicker turnaround on processing refunds. During last year's filing season, it was not unusual to receive a refund on an e-filed state income tax return in three business days.
DOR's home-grown electronic WebFile for Income program has expanded from 95,135 returns filed in tax year 2009 to 110,312 returns filed last year. This free program, complete with online instructions, is a safe and secure way to file income tax returns, and to save them from year to year. DOR will soon post the new tax year 2010 version of WebFile for Income.
All this electronic filing is saving time, and trees. The paper tax form is headed for obsolescence.