Do-it-yourself e-filing by individual taxpayers increased 19% from 2008 to 2009, the Electronic Tax Administration Advisory Committee (ETAAC) said in its 2009 Annual Report submitted to Congress on Wednesday. However, e-filed returns by tax preparers were down 1%. Overall, the committee estimates that for major form types, 59% of returns were e-filed in 2009.
In its report, ETAAC makes 10 recommendations to help the IRS achieve the goal mandated by Congress that 80% of all tax and information returns be e-filed. The No. 1 recommendation is that Congress give the IRS the authority to mandate e-filing by any return preparer who files more than 200 returns. The committee estimates that this would result in 16 million additional e-filed returns.
The target date for the original 80% e-file goal was 2007. ETAAC recommends extending that target date to 2012.
ETAAC also recommends closer cooperation between the IRS and the tax software industry. The panel recommends extending the Free File Alliance program and easing the paper signature requirement for information sharing with state tax authorities.
The 14-member ETAAC was created by the Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 to provide feedback to Congress on electronic tax administration by the IRS. It reports annually on the IRS’ progress in meeting the goal of 80% electronic filing of tax and information returns (and legislative changes that would help the IRS meet this goal); the IRS’ e-filing strategic plan; and the effects e-filing would have on small businesses and self-employed taxpayers.