Many Happy Returns

As taxpayers rush to file by wire, February seems like April

Filing a federal income-tax return used to be cheap but slow: 25 cents for the stamp and as much as eight weeks for the refund check. But now most U.S. taxpayers can take a high-tech shortcut. For anywhere from $25 to $75, filers can get their money in as little as two weeks by having their return sent electronically by one of 18,000 tax preparers and transmitters. After a four- year test run, the Internal Revenue Service for the first time is making its electronic filing system available in all 50 states this year. By the end of January, 608,350 returns...

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