in

Visits to IRS.gov Up Sharply as Taxpayers Go Online to Get Tax Information

WASHINGTON (LAWFUEL) — The number of visitors to IRS.gov is up more than 24 percent compared with last year, and more taxpayers rely on the Internal Revenue Service’s online resources to get answers to tax questions on the economic recovery legislation and to prepare and file tax returns accurately and timely.

More than 138 million taxpayers already visited the IRS Web site this year, up from about 111 million from the same period last year.

Taxpayers can find the latest information about the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, including details on extending health insurance for people who lost their jobs and tax breaks for first-time homebuyers. IRS also has developed “What if” scenarios and the possible tax implications for people who may be facing financially difficult times. Taxpayers periodically should check for updates to these pages.

Some IRS online publications contain hyperlinks allowing users to get the answers they need quickly. The links allow users to jump immediately to other parts of publications and external Web sites, reducing the time it takes to access information.

A total of 14 publications contain tailored hyperlinks that provide easier access, including Publication 3, Armed Forces’ Tax Guide, Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education, and Publication 936, Home Mortgage Interest Deduction. Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax, was issued for the first time with hyperlinks last year, and the new version now has more links than ever before. Publication 17 also is available online in Spanish for the first time.

Available on IRS.gov this year is a new on-line tool that allows taxpayers to complete tax forms, perform basic mathematical calculations and e-file their federal income tax returns free of charge. Free File Fillable Forms is most suited for those who prepare their own paper returns without the assistance of a tax return preparer or tax preparation software. There are no income limitations to use Free File Fillable Forms, and the most commonly-used federal tax forms are available.

Also available to taxpayers is Free File, which provides taxpayers with an adjusted gross income of $56,000 or less in 2008 with free federal income tax preparation and electronic filing. Free File is free, fast and accurate.

Taxpayers also can download IRS audio podcasts on a variety of topics in English and Spanish. Video tax tips are also available.

Other electronic tools can be found on IRS.gov. Highlights include the following:

Where’s My Refund? — Whether taxpayers opted for direct deposit or asked the IRS to mail a check, they can track their refund through the Where’s My Refund? tool.
The Recovery Rebate Credit Calculator — The recovery rebate credit is a one-time benefit for people who didn’t receive the full economic stimulus payment last year and whose circumstances may have changed, making them eligible now for some or all of the unpaid portion of the credit. In most cases, taxpayers who received the full amount of the stimulus payment last year will not be eligible for it this year. The recovery rebate credit can be calculated using the online tool, Recovery Rebate Credit Calculator.
How Much Was My 2008 Stimulus Payment? — Taxpayers will need to know the amount of their 2008 economic stimulus payment to calculate the recovery rebate credit. Taxpayers can use the online tool, How Much Was My 2008 Stimulus Payment?, to check how much their payment was in 2008. Taxpayers don’t need to report the 2008 stimulus payment as income because it’s not taxable.
EITC Assistant — The earned income tax credit is a substantial credit for people who work but don’t earn a lot of money. Find out if you are eligible for the EITC by answering some questions and providing basic income information using the online EITC Assistant.
Taxpayers looking for the IRS online should type www.irs.gov into their Internet browser. Taxpayers should also beware of Web sites that may resemble IRS.gov but end in .com, .net, .org, .biz or any other domain name extension.

Also available is IRS.gov/Español, the IRS Web site offering tax forms, publications and information in Spanish. Interactive tools such as the following are available for individuals: EITC Assistant, (Asistente EITC); Free File(Presentacion FreeFile) Where’s My Refund? (¿Dónde Está Mi Reembolso?), How Much Was My 2008 Stimulus Payment (¿Cuánto fue mi Pago del Estímulo Económico?) and Recovery Rebate Credit (RRC) Calculator (Calculadora para el Crédito por Recuperación de la Devolución de Estímulo Económico.)

2009 FILING SEASON STATISTICS

Cumulative through the weeks ending 3/21/08 and 3/20/09

Individual Income Tax Returns
2008
2009
% Change

Total Receipts
78,792,000
77,623,000
-1.5%

Total Processed
74,139,000
74,806,000
0.9%

E-filing Receipts:

TOTAL
57,745,000
61,272,000
6.1%

Tax Professionals
40,040,000
40,006,000
-0.1%

Self-prepared
17,705,000
21,265,000
20.1%

Web Usage:

Visits to IRS.gov
110,570,000
137,596,000
24.4%

Total Refunds:

Number
64,725,000
66,893,000
3.3%

Amount
$161.276
Billion
$183.307
Billion
13.7%

Average refund
$2,492
$2,740
10.0%

Direct Deposit Refunds:

Number
48,015,000
52,072,000
8.5%

Amount
$133.495
Billion
$155.952
Billion
16.8%

Average refund
$2,780
$2,995
7.7%

2009 FILING SEASON STATISTICS

Cumulative through the weeks ending 3/14/08 and 3/13/09

Individual Income Tax Returns
2008
2009
% Change

Total Receipts
71,028,000
70,807,000
-0.3%

Total Processed
66,656,000
67,595,000
1.4%

E-filing Receipts:

TOTAL
53,359,000
56,665,000
6.2%

Tax Professionals
36,771,000
36,751,000
2.5%

Self-prepared
16,588,000
19,914,000
14.8%

Web Usage:

Visits to IRS.gov
99,754,000
127,506,000
27.8%

Total Refunds:

Number
59,199,000
61,042,000
3.1%

Amount
$149.621
Billion
$169.114
Billion
13.0%

Average refund
$2,527
$2,770
9.6%

Direct Deposit Refunds:

Number
45,023,000
48,643,000
8.0%

Amount
$126.127
Billion
$146.438
Billion
16.1%

Average refund
$2,801
$3,010
7.5%

SEC Charges Seattle- Area Firm in Multi-Million Dollar Scam Targeting Religious Community and Charitable Investors

Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione Named Top Trademark Litigation Firm in Midwest by Managing Intellectual Property Magazine