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House Moves to Boost E-Filing

June 20, 2003|From Associated Press

Millions of people who file their taxes electronically would get an extra 15 days to do so each spring, under a bill passed Thursday by the House.

Moving the deadline to April 30 for electronic filers is one of the incentives that officials want to use to encourage more taxpayers to file and pay electronically. The new deadline would not apply to taxpayers who fill out their returns by hand and mail them to the Internal Revenue Service.

The House voted 252 to 170 in favor of the bill. It was unclear whether the Senate would go along with the measure.

Some tax preparers said a later deadline could cause confusion. "April 15 is well ingrained in our national psyche," said William Stromsem, director of taxes at the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Mike Chakarun, director of federal and legislative affairs for the National Society of Accountants, said two deadlines would create a double standard.

"It's going to reward procrastinators who owe the government money," he said. "Why should they be rewarded? Everyone else has to file on time."

Rep. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) said lawmakers decided to "risk a little confusion" about the deadline to promote electronic filing. Proponents say it allows for fewer errors both by filers and by IRS employees, who must transfer paper returns into electronic records.

Taxpayers can file returns electronically through a professional preparer or by buying software to use at home.

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