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IRS urges taxpayers to file returns online

By Stephen Ohlemacher
Associated Press / January 17, 2010

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WASHINGTON - Want a quick tax refund? File your federal return online and have the refund deposited directly into your bank account.

The Internal Revenue Service launched its online filing system Friday with a promise that people who do their taxes electronically will get refunds in as few as 10 days.

For those who file paper returns, refunds are expected to take four weeks to six weeks, said David R. Williams, the agency’s director of electronic tax administration.

“We believe e-file is safe and secure, and we work with the tax software industry to make sure it stays that way,’’ Williams said.

One group still will need to file paper forms: those taking advantage of expanded home buyer tax credits approved by Congress in November. Congress required documentation to claim the credits, so those returns must be done on paper, Williams said.

Under the program, buyers who have owned their current homes at least five years would be eligible, subject to income limits, for tax credits of up to $6,500. First-time home buyers or people who haven’t owned homes in the previous three years could get up to $8,000.

Individual income taxes for 2009 are due April 15.

For those who owe additional taxes, they can file electronically and pay later, as long as payments are received by April 15.