Tax Administration:

IRS' Test of Tax Return Filing by Telephone

GGD-93-91BR: Published: Apr 26, 1993. Publicly Released: Apr 26, 1993.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the test results of the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) Telefile Program.

GAO found that: (1) the IRS Telefile Program could be a viable alternative to paper return filing; (2) approximately 16.8 million taxpayers filed 1040EZ individual income tax return forms in 1992; (3) of the approximately 126,000 taxpayers who participated in the 1992 test, most viewed the program favorably, 88 percent believed Telefile took less time than paper filing, and 98 percent reported they would use Telefile again; (4) the benefits of the Telefile Program to taxpayers and IRS include faster taxpayer refunds, less taxpayer burden due to reduced computations, greater return accuracy, and less costly return processing; (5) the Telefile processing error rate was 0.16 percent and significantly lower than the error rate for paper filing; and (6) the main barrier to Telefile implementation involved security, since taxpayers' social security and personal identification numbers are displayed on the outside of the tax package and easily accessible to others.

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