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October 1999 Feature Article

Students: Less Stress with the IRS!

Chances are pretty good that you've had some recent interaction with the Internal Revenue Service. But you probably weren't sitting at your computer at two in the morning in your bathrobe eating leftover pizza. Thanks to Access America for Students (AAFS), now students can deal with the IRS anywhere and anytime -- wearing or eating anything they want.

AAFS has teamed up with the IRS to ensure that convenient, online IRS services are available to students -- everything from electronic tax filing to the latest on tax rules involved with scholarships and fellowships. And through the AAFS Web site at, the IRS now offers many more valuable resources you probably don't know about, but should!

"This partnership provides a one-stop service opportunity for students," said Bob Barr, Assistant Commissioner (Electronic Tax Administration), IRS. "Tax filing is a responsibility of every working adult in the U.S. Making it easier and more convenient is an obligation of the government and this partnership does just that for postsecondary students required to file."

"Electronic filing is a priority at the IRS," Barr said. "One of our challenges is assuring that a taxpayer's first filing experience is electronic. It is more costly and difficult to convert a taxpayer from using paper to electronic than to attract a first time filer into electronic. A taxpayer's first experience is typically as a student. Therefore, Access America provides us an opportunity to make Web-based filing and information retrieval available to these students at the earliest possible time."

But filing taxes online is just one of the convenient IRS services students can access through AAFS.

College and high school students can get their specific tax questions answered in the Students Guide to Federal Income Tax. Students can discover what education expenses might be tax deductible or how to figure out exemptions and deductions. The site even includes a W-4 calculator so students can make sure employers are withholding the correct Federal income tax from their paychecks.

When it comes to e-filing, the IRS goal is 80 percent of all tax returns and information returns filed electronically by the year 2007, according to the Electronic Tax Administration's: A Strategy for Growth. In the 1999 tax filing year, 24.6 million taxpayers used an IRS e-file option to file Federal income tax returns, an increase of 19 percent from the previous year. Electronic filing means faster refunds for taxpayers and more accurate filing than paper returns.

To make electronic filing a reality for more Americans, the IRS is working with private sector companies like Intuit, Universal Tax Systems and others to bring taxpayers convenient and affordable e-file options. Some partners offer free tax preparation and e-file services for lower income taxpayers -- a group that often includes students. Through these partnerships, the IRS is able to bring taxpayers affordable, convenient, user friendly electronic filing (e-file) options available from home.

"This partnership resulted from the Vice President's vision for providing better delivery of government services to the public," Barr said. "Better delivery includes electronic delivery. In this way, many services can be accessed directly from home or the student's dormitory at a time and place convenient to the student."

As tax season approaches, look for more online student services from the IRS available through Access America for Students.

Access America for Students