<p>WASHINGTON – The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) are encouraging taxpayers to use electronic filing opportunities to save themselves and the government a little green. The two groups pointed out that taxpayers filing electronically and opting for direct deposit get their refunds in half the time. Also, electronic returns are far less error-prone, cutting down on unnecessary notices and penalties, Treasury and the IRS claimed, and electronic returns are also far cheaper for the government to process. The President’s budget will contain two proposals aimed at increasing the number of taxpayers who choose to e-file. Legislation is expected to extend the April filing date for electronic returns by at least ten days and the administration proposes to provide taxpayers the option to file their tax return online without charge. Currently, over 40 million taxpayers take advantage of e-filing, which is the product of a public-private arrangement. That leaves more than 90 million taxpayers who do not use the system. Factors in this decision include cost and privacy concerns. While it only costs 34 cents to mail a paper return, e-filing is sometimes offered for free, but can sometimes cost $10-$12.</p>

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