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By the Numbers: 98.74 million

Last year, the Internal Revenue Service processed more than 142 million tax returns. Almost 70 percent of those Form 1040s (and 1040As and 1040EZs, plus attached forms and schedules) arrived at IRS centers electronically.

The precise number of e-filers, according to the agency's final 2010 filing season data, was 98,740,000.

2010 efiled returns_98 plus million

That was a 3.4 percent increase over the previous year's count of taxpayers who electronically delivered their returns.

The biggest jump, percentage wise, was in the number of folks who e-filed their taxes themselves. Almost 35 million of us did so, a 8.2 percent increase.

But don't worry, tax pros. You're still needed. You guys and gals accounted for the electronic filing of almost 64 million tax returns in 2010.

More e-deposit money: Direct deposit of refunds also grew last filing season.

Out of more than 109 million refunds issued in 2010, accounting for $328.4 billion, 74.59 million of them went straight from the Treasury to taxpayer bank accounts.

The really interesting thing about those direct deposit refunds is the amount.

While the average tax refund last year was $3,003, folks who had their tax cash directly deposited received an average refund of $3,191. 

Does that mean that the software they used helped them find tax breaks to pump up their refund?

Or did they know they were getting back hefty refunds and used e-file and direct deposit so they'd have access to the money sooner?

Today's tax trend: Notice a pattern in my blogging today?

Yep, I picked this week's By the Numbers figure to tie into today's earlier post on going electronic this tax season.

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Good points, Mary. Also remember that $250 retiree check that required filing of 2009 returns in 2010, along with Schedule M, to claim. That no doubt pushed up the overall numbers.

Mary OKeeffe

Interesting numbers, Kay. One thing that jumped out at me right away--the total number of returns filed in 2010 was down more than 1% compared to the previous year.

That could be because fewer folks had a reason to file, due to the downturn in the economy in 2009. It could be that there were fewer people who had enough income to incur a filing requirement, and/or fewer folks with taxes withheld to make it worth filing even in the absence of a filing requirement.

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