January 04, 1989
File Early & File Accurately
File early and file accurately. That's the advice from the Internal Revenue Service to the nation's 109 million taxpayers at the beginning of the income tax filing season.
At a news conference today, IRS Commissioner Lawrence B. Gibbs kicked off the three and one-half month filing season by encouraging taxpayers to begin now gathering the information needed to file their 1988 tax returns as soon as possible. "American taxpayers did a great job last year, even though the Tax Reform Act of 1986 caused significant changes in the returns," Commissioner Gibbs said. "The key is starting early so you'll give yourself time to do it right."
For this filing season, the IRS has expanded the availability of filing refund returns electronically to 48 IRS districts from 16 last year. More than 583,000 returns were filed electronically last year which allowed these taxpayers to get their refunds about three weeks early. The IRS expects that in 1989 as many as 2 million taxpayers will be able to file their returns this way.
The Advertising Council and the IRS have produced two new public service announcements for distribution to the media this filing season. Last year -- the first year of the Advertising Council campaign -- IRS public service messages generated some $65 million worth of publicity through television and radio spots, newspapers and magazine ads, billboards and transit cards. This represented a 44 percent increase in the value of the publicity over the previous year.
The public service campaign messages, "File Now/File Accurately - - Make Your Taxes Less Taxing," will continue from last year. "It's very important for the public to recognize that this is good advice every year," Gibbs said. "Waiting until the last minute is almost a sure way to make mistakes and forget deductions and credits."
The IRS expects to receive over 109 million individual tax returns this year and process refunds for about 75 percent of these. Last year the IRS received 107 million returns, 75.2 million of which were for refunds averaging $905. Refunds are expected to average about the same amount for 1988 returns.
In a related announcement, the IRS said it will hold a series of town meetings around the country from now through the end of April to give taxpayers, tax preparers and others a chance to offer ideas and suggestions for improving the next year's forms and instructions.
The first meeting will be in Milwaukee on January 12 and other meetings are scheduled for:
- Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., and Greensboro, N.C., the week of February 13;
- Portland, Ore., on March 8;
- Sacramento, Calif., on March 9;
- Albuquerque, N.M., on April 4;
- Brooklyn, N.Y., and Hartford, Conn., the week of April 10;
- Pittsburgh and Indianapolis, the week of April 24.
During the town meetings, a panel of local and national IRS officials will hear public comments on ways to improve and simplify tax forms and instructions. The meetings are part of an IRS initiative to involve the public in efforts to make filing returns easier and reduce taxpayer errors.
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