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Bill for Storing All That Tax Paperwork: $33M

October 27, 2014

The Internal Revenue Service received about 87% of its returns for 2013 electronically. But that still leaves millions of paper returns that the IRS needs to store, along with the supporting paperwork that the Service itself generates. The flood of paper has led to a burgeoning 5.4 million cubic feet of records that needs to be stored--a volume of paperwork that if stacked in a cube would be 175 feet on a side. The bill for all that storage? For tax year 2013, It amounted to $33 million.

 

The Treasury Department's inspector general for tax administration noted that about 16 thousand cubic feet of paperwork was overdue for disposal. But the amount was still a small fraction of the total paper burden, leaving the Service to search for ways to reduce the mountain of records that have to be tracked and stored on the taxpayer's nickel. 

 

It may end up being a problem that solves itself. The percentage of electronic returns has been steadily rising each tax year, and there is little reason to believe that the trend will not continue. 

 

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