Income tax filing by phone a ringing success in Ohio test

June 06, 1993|By Knight-Ridder News Service

Score one for the IRS. A tax-filing experiment in Ohio recentl won high praise.

Under that program, the agency in 1992 allowed some Ohio residents to file their tax returns by phone. The program was open to about 720,000 people who used Form 1040EZ -- the simplest tax form available. About 126,000 actually tried the system -- called TeleFile.

About 88 percent said they liked it, and 98 percent said they would use it again.

The program also slashed the rate of filing errors, with only 0.16 percent of TeleFile returns containing mistakes. The error rate for the mailed Form 1040EZ ranges from 3 percent to 6.7 percent.

Despite the success in Ohio, the system still may not be ready for prime time, the report said. The biggest potential obstacle involves security. The tax package mailed to TeleFile users had each taxpayer's Social Security number on the mailing label. The IRS is looking for a remedy.

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