Study: Electronic tax filing picks up steam

A growing number of people plan to file taxes online this year--one in 10 of those for the first time, survey shows.

CNET News staff
2 min read
A growing number of U.S. households plan to file their taxes electronically this year, and one in 10 of those people will be filing online for the first time, a new survey has shown.

Approximately 34 percent of online U.S. households will file their taxes electronically this year, up from 28 percent last year, according to a survey released Wednesday by the Conference Board and research company TNS.

The survey--dubbed the Consumer Internet Barometer--is a quarterly survey of 10,000 households that measures the popularity of the Internet and the nature of Net usage.

"The number of consumers filing federal taxes online is growing quickly," Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board's Consumer Research Center, said in a statement. "The expansion of the Free File program, the ease of use of the Internet, do-it-yourself tax software and faster refunds are all benefits that appeal to consumers."

But the increase in online filing isn't likely to cut into tax professionals' business, the study showed. More than 42 percent of those filing online will seek professional help, as they feel increasingly challenged to understand year-to-year changes in federal and state tax forms, according to the survey.

"Additionally, with the growing number of baby boomers hitting retirement age, they're turning to tax experts for the kind of planning and advice they need to protect their assets for the future," Sam Thayer, executive vice president of TNS Financial Services, said in a statement.

About 55 percent online filers said they have been using the Net to file their taxes for more than three years.

Reasons cited by those who don't file online include dislike for doing their own taxes and aversion to sending personal information via the Internet. But relatively few said security concerns are a deterrent.

Tax filing in the United States closes on April 15.