WASHINGTON — Halfway through the tax-filing season, less than one-third of Americans have mailed in their returns, but the Internal Revenue Service is not worried.
Through Feb. 27, the IRS had received 31.7 million returns, down 2 million--almost 6%--from the same period a year ago.
"We're not at all concerned because we've been further down in the past and still ended the year with a higher number received," IRS spokesman Larry Batdorf said Wednesday.
The agency expects about 105 million returns to be filed this year.
Refunds Average $735
The IRS processed more than 15.2 million returns during January and February, up 3.1% from last year. More than 7.9 million returns have been certified, up 2%. Refunds have totaled $5.8 billion and averaged $735, compared with $5.5 billion and $709 at this time last year.
Batdorf said the IRS is pleased with the second year of its pilot project allowing some taxpayers to file their returns by computer. During the test last year, 26,000 returns were filed electronically; in the first two months this year, 42,383 were filed.