NEW YORK – Uncle Sam wants you to pay your taxes — simply.
The U.S. Treasury on Tuesday launched a national campaign to urge individuals, tax preparers and small businesses to pay taxes electronically via the government's Electronic Federal Tax Payment System, or EFTPS.
Don Hammond, the Treasury's fiscal assistant secretary, said the "Simplify" campaign aims "to promote and educate people about our electronic payment system."
In the government's most recent fiscal year, 78 million EFTPS payments were processed, most of them from large corporations. At the same time, 42 million payments involved the traditional paper coupon and check.
Hammond said the electronic payments cost 53 cents less to process than the paper coupons and checks.
"So this will save us a lot of money and improve processing efficiency," he said.
Hammond added that there were fewer errors with electronic payments processing than with paper processing.
The payments that can be processed electronically — via the Internet, through a telephone voice response system or by other electronic means — range from the Social Security and federal income tax payments withheld from employees' paychecks to estimated quarterly taxes and excise taxes.
Hammond said the new campaign is "appealing to the smaller corporations that have not been taking advantage of the system," which has been operating since 1996.
He said that many of the small businesses not yet using the EFTPS were concentrated in six states: New York, California, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Texas and Florida.
The Treasury has set up a Web site at http://www.simplifyeftps.org with details on how EFTPS works and enrollment options.
The push for more electronic payments comes as the government has hit a milestone in the electronic tax arena: More taxpayers now e-file their returns than file paper returns.