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IRS to stop mailing income tax forms

By Ed O'Keefe

Here's another sign of the times: The Internal Revenue Service plans to stop mailing out instructions and paper forms for annual income tax returns, saving the agency about $10 million annually as more Americans are filing online.

Only about 11.5 million people who filed paper tax returns in 2009 received the tax packages in the mail, IRS said. The agency normally mails the information at the beginning of the calendar year. The mailing includes the Form 1040 and an instruction that totaled 44 pages last year. More than 96 million individuals have filed their tax returns this year via IRS e-File (up about 6 million from 2008) and estimated 20 million paper returns were filed through paid tax preparers, according to the agency.

IRS plans to mail information about the decision in the coming weeks to individuals who filed paper forms last year. Taxpayers who want to file paper returns may still obtain the forms at, local IRS offices or at participating libraries and post offices.

The $10 million in annual savings for IRS accounts for printing and postage costs, the agency said. IRS uses the Government Printing Office to print the materials, which in turn hires private printing firms to do some of the work. GPO did not immediately return requests for comment.

The federal government continues to curtail its use of traditional "snail mail" to save on paper, postage and printing costs. The Treasury Department announced plans in June to start making most government benefits payments by direct deposit by 2013 as part of the Obama administration's government efficiency reforms.

The U.S. Postal Service would not comment Monday on the potential financial impact of fewer IRS mailings.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

By Ed O'Keefe  | September 27, 2010; 4:21 PM ET
Categories:  Agencies and Departments  
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Given the importance of filing returns, $10 million seems like small savings.

Posted by: Garak | September 27, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Watch a few million people disappear from the tax roles when they don't get their forms in the mail. Some, particularly the elderly, will forget without a reminder, and some people will think the newly elected congress repealled the income tax.

Posted by: Frazil | September 27, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Next, I'd like to see them allow taxpayers to file online directly to the IRS. I'd rather not have these third parties in the mix for electronic or online filing. I file my DC taxes online, but I still mail the forms to the IRS though I fill out the .pdf versions of the forms on my computer.

Posted by: PersonL | September 27, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

It's 2010 and, for a number of reasons, millions of taxpayers are not sufficiently computer literate to file electronically. That estimated $10 million in 'savings' will be in doubt because of the difficulties many will have with the new process.

Maybe some REAL savings can be effected if the IRS or another agency could hold our major tax cheats upside down to shake loose their lucre.

Posted by: kinkysr | September 27, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

I can hear it now:

"I didn't pay muh taxes 5 years in a row, cause I didn't get muh forms, an' I didn't think I owed anythin'".

Posted by: GP04 | September 27, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

There ought to be a way for people to request for basic forms and instructions to be mailed to them, and not just by going on line to request this. Not everybody has internet access! And don't tell me that you can access the internat at the library because you can't print things there. Imagine how long it would take to print out the full packet that has been mailed with dial-up access.

Not mailing to those who file electronically is OK; but for those who (1) are used to paper and underlining or tagging relevent pages or sections, (2) who don't own a computer (there are still many), (3) have not learned how to type or use a mouse, and (4) still do their own taxes, they should still have the government supply them the forms that they need.

I still read all the instructions included in the mailed packet to make sure that I am covering all the bases. both paying all that I should and taking credit for what I'm due. I don't want to print all those pages and do not have a computer at home and definitely are not figuring out my taxes on a public computer!

Posted by: HistoryAnn | September 27, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Were it only so that the rich tax evaders would be thrown in jail!

The teabaggers only defend Leona Helmsley!



Posted by: bs2004 | September 27, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

What a bunch of lazy cheapskates. $10 million is nothing to an agency like the IRS (it's about the cost of a small highway exit ramp). Taxpayers already have no idea what the proper forms are, and now the IRS isn't going to help.

Posted by: ShovelPlease | September 27, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Old people won't file but maybe the bulk of them do not owe taxes. Maybe those that are due a refund won't file either. I bet it will total more than 10 million dollars that the Gov. keeps from those that don't file for a refund.

Posted by: glenmayne | September 27, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

What boggles my mind is why the IRS hasn't built its own online version of tax preparation software. Who knows the tax code better than the IRS? If their computers did all the calculations, it would save the consumer time, money, and headaches. It would also make paying taxes and receiving tax refunds much faster via Direct Deposit. Of course, there would likely be those out there who would claim it as a plot for the government to steal money from the average citizen. Still, I think it would be a good idea.

Posted by: damascuspride04 | September 27, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Another government bumble. No return means no filing. Good thing!

Posted by: stinkingtuna | September 27, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Direct electronic filing is currently available.

The U.S.P.S. just lost a customer.

Posted by: etronsen | September 27, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

After Pearl Harbor was bombed by Japan on December 7, 1941, Congress declared war, and passed the Victory Tax Act of 1942, in order to raise money to support an Army. This was done in accordance with Article I, Section 8, Clause 12, of the Constitution of the United States of America, which provides:

"The Congress shall have Power . . . To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;"

In 1942, for the first time in the history of this country, the Bureau of Internal Revenue sent out 1040 Form to the general public in the forty-eight States.

This was done even though the Victory Tax Act of 1942 only applied to citizens and residents of the District of Columbia, and non-resident aliens.

Most people thought that the Victory Tax Act required everyone to file a tax return and pay tax on "income", so they voluntarily filed a Form 1040 in 1942, 1943 and 1944.

On May 29, 1944, Congress repealed the Victory Tax Act of 1942, but the news media did not publicize that fact.

In 1945, the Bureau of Internal Revenue decided to mass mail 1040 Forms to the general public, just to see what would happen. Why not? The vast majority of the people had voluntarily file tax returns before.

Since the public believed that the Victory Tax Act was mandatory in the then forty-eight (48) States, and did not know that it had been repealed, they filled out the 1040 Forms and mailed them in, along with their checks.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue was ecstatic and committed itself to continue perpetrating the fraud on the Citizens of the (then)forty-eight (48) States. So, the Bureau of Internal Revenue has continued to send out Form 1040's each and every year since.


Some people claim the 16th Amendment forces Americans to pay Income Taxes. This Amendment was never properly ratified, therefore it too is a fraud.

see :

Because the entire process of creating a Universal U.S.Income Tax was so illegally accomplished, no law was actually written and passed stating that Americans must pay income tax.

There is no provision in the Internal Revenue Code that imposes a direct income tax on the Citizens of the fifty (50) States, nor a requirement to file an income tax return, unless employed by the Federal Government.

see : Arron Russo's film "America : Freedom to Fascism"

Russo actually questions an ex-IRS top executive and demands that he cite the law requiring us to pay taxes. The man cannot, because it does not exist. Finally, he threatens Russo in Yiddish saying, "We'll get you for this!!"

Income Tax is a FED fraud, one of many,
including "fractional reserve lending" in creating our money. The FED skims us for many billions each year using this fraud.

Posted by: vcompton1 | September 27, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

I for one am glad that the subsidy for the really old folks is ending.

Don't like the Internet? Move to Somalia.

Posted by: WillSeattle | September 27, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Absolutely nobody is awake in that building. First if floods and now...........

Posted by: jim999 | September 27, 2010 5:54 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: jim999 | September 27, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

with obamacare the irs will hire an army of auditors to come after us that can't afford to pay...

Posted by: DwightCollins | September 27, 2010 6:14 PM | Report abuse

I still like the "flat Tax" idea. Do away with all these gov't folks soaking up our hard earned money. Can you imagine, no more IRS, everyone just pay 15% of their income. Lets see what these "fat cats"
can do if they had to compete for a real job.

Posted by: bobgilb1943 | September 27, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

if I owe =no forms=no pay thanks.

Posted by: byowill | September 27, 2010 8:10 PM | Report abuse

That sounds like a penny-wise, pound-foolish measure.

Posted by: AxelDC | September 27, 2010 8:33 PM | Report abuse

In the middle of a 2007 audit of my schedule A. Irs sent 4 identical multi page notifications that they had received my paperwork. Three weeks later they sent two identical notifications that they were going to look at it. They have major structural problems that need attention.

Posted by: jack85 | September 27, 2010 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Befor the Government directs you to the internet for information you could go to jail about, they should make sure everybody has access to broadband. I have been waiting for ten years at my house and they tell me its not coming. I cant afford satelite which is slow and unreliable and very limited per month.

Posted by: jimbobkalina | September 28, 2010 4:19 AM | Report abuse

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