Tax time can be a stressful point of the year for many people. Everyone scrambles to meet the April 15 deadline, hoping that their returns have been completed correctly. Thankfully, this process has become easier with the introduction of electronic filing.
The Internal Revenue Service has also adopted the use of technology to quickly issue refunds via ACH processing, making the tax filing process more efficient than it has been in years past.
According to a report from Nebraska-based news publication The Star-Herald, citing data from the IRS, last year, 23 percent of tax refunds were paid out in the form of physical checks. Five years ago, that portion was 35 percent. As technology adoption has become the norm, payment solutions that involve the use of electronic methods aren't surprising in the least.
In fact, the IRS has devoted time to make electronic tax filing and the issuance of refunds standard operating procedure.
IRS taking ETAAC applications
According to a report from Iowa news outlet Vinton Newspapers, the IRS is in the process of accepting applications for the Electronic Tax Administration Advisory Committee. The overarching goal of this initiative is to open up public debate about making the entire tax process – from filing to the administration of refunds – a paperless one.
According to the IRS website, the ETAAC will collect feedback from filers and use the information to implement suggested changes and revamp certain procedures and polices that will make the process efficient and practical.
Both organizations and individuals can be part of the ETAAC, making the backgrounds of members more diverse and allowing the organization to gather a variety of viewpoints on the electronic tax process. This initiative implemented by the IRS conveys the general push toward the use of technology in all areas of operation and to mitigate the stress associated with certain tasks, like filing tax returns and anticipating when a refund will be issued.
Tennessee leads the US in electronic tax filing
Many people have already filed their taxes electronically, whether they do it themselves or enlist the help of a professional. However, it appears that people living in Tennessee lead the way when it comes to using technology to accomplish this task.
In a report from the Times Free Press, a newspaper based in Chattanooga, Tennessee, a spokesman from the IRS told the outlet that the state is No. 1 in electronic tax preparation and filing.
The IRS released early estimates stating that Tennessee would have 2.1 million electronic tax returns filed in 2015. The actions of residents in the state greatly exceeded this number, as the agency received 2.9 million returns that had been filed electronically.
"The state of Tennessee has set a record," Mark Green, an IRS representative, told the newspaper. "All the people have stepped up to the plate and filed their returns much earlier than they have in past years. This has been the most returns we've ever received from the state of Tennessee at this point."
Both the IRS and everyday citizens have a variety of reasons to push for e-filing. Not only does the agency receive the returns faster electronically, but if someone meets certain qualifications, he or she can file their returns for free online and receive a refund more quickly.
"People just aren't mailing near as many tax returns as they used to," Randy Bowen, a supervisor at U.S. Postal Service branch in Chattanooga, told the newspaper while remarking just how slow the traffic was when the post office kept late hours to accommodate those mailing their tax returns. "The IRS has put a big emphasis on electronic filing."
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