Of course, more folks are e-filing. It’s fast, it’s easy. And with more folks than ever with internet and computer access, it’s to be expected.

But.

And you knew there would be a but.

Here’s my cynical take… You’ll note fewer taxpayers filing generally, down a whopping 12 million this year. There’s a bump in 2008 – certainly attributable to the stimulus. Might it be the case – and I’m just saying – that folks have been encouraged to filing electronically in order to get money back a little quicker.

I’d love to see the data for 2009 returns filed in 2010. I’m betting if you back out the homebuyer’s, that percentage will drop a little. And I’m not a betting girl normally. But I have a hunch on this one.

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Kelly Erb is a tax attorney and tax writer.

Comments

  1. Link to source would’ve been nice. What’s the cut-off date for the 2009 year-to-date data? I’d be surprised if it includes returns from the 10/15 deadline, even if it’s been released since then. No reason to conclude yet that the steady upward trend of total returns by year will not continue by the time 2009 is over, based on the data as you’ve presented it. Though 2008’s spike may well be caused by people who had to file more than one year’s return in order to qualify for the stimulus. But even if 2009 got to 146 million, it would be on the same trend line with the other years, with 2oo8 as an outlier.

    And so what if people are e-filing to get refunds quicker? It saves data entry expense on the IRS side, AND benefits the taxpayer directly.

  2. ThomasT, source was initially email so it wasn’t easily linkable but here’s the press release from IRS: http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=214853,00.html

    It’s through mid-October (IRS works on quarters, so data is often keyed to the 15th day following the quarter).

    I’m not bashing e-filing. I just think IRS is *overly* excited about these numbers which I think are directly attributable to the stimulus. I also think they represent a lot of fraudulent returns (I say this based on the number of emails I received from taxpayers who basically asked how to cheat to get a stimulus check, as well as anecdotes from my peers). Giving people money they’re not entitled to faster isn’t a good use of resources IMHO. 😉

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