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IRS Advancing E-file Study Key Messages


The Advancing E-file Study Phase 1 Report reflects a major effort to synthesize and analyze all substantial data on the IRS e-file program in one document to help the IRS validate and launch future studies, research, and other activities to meet the goal set by Congress that 80% of individual Federal income tax returns be filed electronically.

  • The scope of the Phase 1 report included e-file history, its stakeholders, taxpayer and preparer motivators to e-file, related efforts among states and foreign countries, and identification of options to increase e-filing.
  • The 13 options were identified in consultation with IRS and its external stakeholders and are not meant to be exhaustive, but to capture most of the commonly considered options. The fact that any particular option, such as phone filing, is included in the report should not be construed as a recommendation for its adoption.
  • The report does not include recommendations on selecting or implementing specific options but lays the foundation for doing so in future phases. 
  • Key Findings from the Phase 1 report included:
    • There is no silver bullet. An advancing e-file strategy must take into consideration many complex factors, and there is no quick fix or any single option approach for the IRS to convert remaining paper filers.
    • The IRS cannot meet the goal without help. The multifaceted landscape of the US tax system requires that the IRS rely on strong partnerships with third party partners, stakeholders, and Congress to advance e-file.
    • Technology is secondary to motivating behavior. Even the most innovative technology will not help the IRS achieve the 80% e-file goal unless it is grounded in a thorough understanding of the intricacies of filer behavior — their motivators, concerns, and relative positions on the technology adoption curve.
  • The Advancing E-file Study is a multi-phased effort to build a comprehensive e-file strategy based on sound data and verifiable analysis. Phase 2 is underway and planned for completion in Spring/Summer 2009. It will include estimated adoption of the options based on original research of taxpayer and preparer motivators and analysis of the business and engineering impacts of those options. 

IRS Advancing e-File Study Phase 1 Executive Summary

IRS Advancing e-File Study Phase 1 Report


Page Last Reviewed or Updated: November 03, 2008