With the average tax refund so far this year at $2,893, a record number of Tennesseans have turned to the Internet so far this year to file their tax returns and speed their refunds from Uncle Sam.
The Internal Revenue Service estimates that more than 86 percent of Tennessee's 2.9 million taxpayers will file electronic returns this year, including returns coming in by next Wednesday's filing deadline and other extended filings through the rest of calendar 2015.
"We had estimated that Tennessee would file 2.5 million electronic tax returns for the whole calendar year, but as of this morning Tennessee had already filed 2.1 million tax returns." IRS spokesman Mark Green said Friday. "This will be a busy weekend for many people preparing taxes and we urge those who still have to file to file as early as they can to avoid a last-minute rush and mistake and, if they can, to file their returns electronically."
Electronic returns automatically detect the most common filing mistakes and speed the delivery of filings and returns back to taxpayers.
So far this tax filing season, Tennessee ranks No. 3 among the 50 states in the per capita electronic filing rate, Green said.
If you want a speedier tax refund, Green said electronic filing should cut in half the time it takes for you to get your money.
The typical refund for those filing electronically is three weeks or less, with some refunds coming back as soon as seven or eight days, Green said. Paper filings are now likely to take six to eight weeks to process and mail a check back to the filer.
Although the IRS is handling more tax information via the Internet, the government does still mail some forms to taxpayers to help check on the reliability of returns.
Some taxpayers will receive a letter in the mail from the IRS called a 5071C letter that asks the taxpayer to verify that they did indeed file their tax return. The 5071C letter is sent because the filed return contains various inconsistencies with their tax returns in previous years.
"The 5071C letter is part of the IRS effort to crack down on tax scams, or a possible fraudulent return that contains a real taxpayer's name and/or Social Security number," Green said. "The IRS is not requesting this information via e-mail or telephone. The taxpayers who receive a 5071C in the mail can either call the toll-free number on the letter or verify identification at idverify.irs.gov."