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IRS Readies For Online Filing Surge Following Anthrax Attacks

by Mike Godfrey, Tax-News.com, Washington

14 November 2001


The US Internal Revenue Service has reassured American tax payers that it is prepared should demand for online tax filing services surge in the wake of recent anthrax fears.

Although the IRS has stated that it does not want to overplay fears in order to encourage e-filing, it revealed that some US tax payers have expressed concerns that their returns may be delayed as a result of heightened security, or that tax return packages could contain anthrax spores.

The agency also announced that in addition to beefing up its electronic system, it intends to process returns which are mailed to it at off-site centers where they can be monitored for the disease. 'We are as committed to protecting the paper process as the electronic system,' explained Terry Lutes, head of the IRS Electronic Tax Administration.

The Internal Revenue Service has been trying to sell US taxpayers on the idea of electronic filing for some time now, and recently announced a host of new online features including tax return tracking, credit card payments, and online communication and problem solving developments.

Speaking at a conference of the Council for Electronic Revenue Communication Advancement last week, IRS Commissioner Charles Rossotti announced that he believed that recent events would stir the American public to file their taxes online this year, but not from any sense of fear. He predicted that US citizens were more likely to take the e-option because 'most people want to do what they can' to support government agencies at the moment, and 'it does help us if we can reduce the volume of paper.'


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