[Fox Business] IRS says new paperless processing initiative will allow for faster refunds

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The Internal Revenue Service is looking to go paperless.

The federal tax collection agency announced plans Wednesday to allow taxpayers to submit correspondence and non-tax forms online starting next tax season and to file all returns digitally by the 2025 filing season in a paperless initiative it says will ramp up efficiency, accuracy, and enable Americans to receive their tax refunds sooner.

Taxpayers are currently able to submit annual 1040 tax returns digitally, but beyond that, nearly all correspondence with the IRS must be done through regular mail. 

The IRS says its new paperless initiative will save up to 200 million pieces of paper a year, slash processing times by half and cut the amount of time it takes to receive refunds by “several weeks.” The agency says it estimates the moves will mean more than 94% of taxpayers will never again need to send mail to the IRS.

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Starting in the 2024 filing season, taxpayers will be given the option to submit all correspondence including responses to notices online, and 20 additional tax forms will be available for e-filing in a mobile-friendly format.

By the 2025 filing season, another 150 “of the most used” non-tax forms will be available in digital formats, and the IRS will also have the ability to digitally process all paper-filed returns.

The IRS said it will also digitize its estimated 1 billion historical documents, which it says will allow it to save roughly $40 million a year in storage costs.

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The agency also expects its digitalization plan to help it go after tax cheats.

“When combined with an improved data platform, digitization and data extraction will enable data scientists to implement advanced analytics and pattern recognition methods to pursue cases that can help address the tax gap, including wealthy individuals and large corporations using complex structures to evade taxes they owe,” the IRS’ media release states.

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The IRS’ paperless initiative is part of its modernization efforts after receiving $80 billion through the Inflation Reduction Act.

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