Last-minute tax filers hit the Web

Millions of people visit IRS.gov and other tax-related Web sites ahead of Friday night's deadline.

Alorie Gilbert Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Alorie Gilbert
writes about software, spy chips and the high-tech workplace.
Alorie Gilbert
2 min read
There are two kinds of people in this country--those who file their tax returns early and those who really procrastinate.

The procrastinators are turning to the Web again in droves this year as they hustle to meet the Friday deadline for filing, according to market research firm ComScore Networks.

The Internal Revenue Service is the busiest site this week--no surprise there. More than 1.2 million consumers visited the site on Tuesday and another 1 million came on Wednesday, ComScore reported on Thursday. If last year is any indication, nearly 2 million will hit the site on April 15.

"Despite promising themselves that they wouldn't wait to file until the last moment again this year, millions of Americans inevitably did just that," ComScore said in a statement.

Traffic at HRBlock.com and Intuit's TurboTax site also surged on Wednesday. TurboTax.com drew 320,000 visitors, and 214,000 people sought out H&R Block online.

The IRS expects a record number of taxpayers--more than half--to file returns electronically this year. The agency, which released new statistics on Wednesday, said 55.8 million people had filed electronically as of April 8, about 8 percent more than during that period last year.

The IRS also reported a surge this year in taxpayers taking advantage of its Free File program, through which it offers free tax preparation software from Intuit, H&R Block, 2nd Story Software and many others. This year, the agency has so far accepted nearly 4.2 million returns through the program, about 44 percent more than a year ago. The program is in its third year.

More taxpayers have elected to collect refunds via direct deposit into their bank accounts, with the IRS using the direct deposit option for 44 million refunds so far this year.