Don’t bother checking the mailbox for your tax forms this year.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced it will stop mailing paper tax return forms on Monday.
According to the agency’s website, the IRS is taking this step because of “the continued growth in electronic filing and the availability of free options to taxpayers.” The agency is going paperless to reduce costs, telling the Washington Post that the move will save around $10 million in printing and postage.
More than 96 million individual tax returns were e-filed, and an estimated 20 million paper returns were filed through paid preparers last year, according the to the IRS. Conversely, only about 11.5 million, or 8%, of Americans who filed paper tax returns in 2009 used the tax packages sent by mail.
“Since 1990, the IRS has processed nearly one billion e-filed tax returns safely and securely,” the agency explained on its website. “In most cases, you can use free tax software to prepare and file your tax return electronically.”
The 44-page mailer, which includes the Form 1040, schedules, and instructions on how to file, can also be accessed via e-file on the IRS’s website. You can also pick up the packet at local IRS offices, participating libraries and post offices.
Forms and instructions will be available from all outlets beginning in Jan. 2011. Taxpayers will be sent a postcard in early October, notifying them of the change. Those who are experiencing a hardship in obtaining the paper tax forms can call 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676) after Jan. 10, 2011.
So much for telling Uncle Sam your tax forms got lost in the mail.
You have to wonder if IRS’ decision will hurt the struggling U.S. Postal Service. What other paper-based business do you think will go digital? Let us know in the comment section.