One Billion Served: IRS E-File Passes Major Milestone

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WASHINGTON — IRS e-file has reached a major milestone as it passed the one billion mark for individual tax returns processed safely and securely since 1986.

The Internal Revenue Service’s electronic filing program started as a pilot project in 1986 and became available nationally in 1990. Prior to the April 18 deadline, IRS e-file passed another high point as more than 100 million individual tax returns were e-filed during the 2011 filing season.

“IRS e-file is a good deal for taxpayers,” said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman. “The one billion milestone means e-file has delivered real services to taxpayers, including faster refunds and more accurate tax returns. And because an e-file return costs us 20 times less to process than a paper return, this program means a more efficient government that has saved America’s taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.”

IRS e-file is an electronic transmission system that sends tax returns to IRS processing centers. Taxpayers can e-file through their tax preparers, through commercial software they use to prepare their own returns or through Free File, the free tax software and e-file program offered through

Congress originally set an 80 percent goal for the electronic filing of federal tax and information returns back in 1998. E-file is now very close to that mark. Currently, more than 79 percent of taxpayers have used e-file to submit their tax returns so far this year.

In 2009, Congress passed another provision requiring tax preparers who file 10 or more tax returns to use e-file. IRS e-file has been steadily growing, but the new law, which the IRS is phasing in, brought a surge of e-filed returns for 2011. For this year, tax preparers who filed 100 or more returns were required to e-file.

For 2012, tax preparers who file 11 or more returns will be required to e-file. The requirement should put the IRS within reach of its goal of 80 percent e-file rate for individual tax returns.

Electronic filing:

Taxpayers filing Form 2290 reporting 25 or more vehicles for any taxable period are required by statute to electronically file their Form 2290 tax return through an IRS at an approved & authorized software provider.

Form 8849, Claim for Refund of Excise Taxes
(Schedules 1,2, 3, 5, 6 and 8 are now available for optional e-file. Electronically submitted Schedules 2, 3 and 8 refund claims will be processed within 20 days of acceptance by the IRS, versus the usual 45 day processing time on all other 8849 schedules.

To file your excise forms electronically you will need to visit an IRS approved & authorized software provider for the tax forms you want to file.   Form 720 filing information can be found on web page.  Form 2290 filing information can be found on the 2290 web page Form 8849 filing information can be found on the 8849 web page

QUESTIONS? Call the Support Center Hotline at 866-245-3918 or simply write to

Read Excise Tax: FAQ’s
Form 720 – Frequently Asked Questions
Form 2290 – Frequently Asked Questions
Form 8849 -Frequently Asked Questions