The Irs: A Very, Very Short Form

Each year, the Internal Revenue Service has to pore through millions of multipage taxpayer forms and transcribe the numbers into mainframe computers. A typing mistake by an IRS employee--such as transposing interest income with capital gains--could cause havoc. The IRS is hoping a partial solution to this problem will be found in a new tax-filing form for owners of personal computers.The 1040PC is an optional form available only to filers who use PCs and tax preparation software such as ChipSoft Inc.'s TurboTax. The form created by the software lists only the necessary information--such as name, address, and Social Security number--and the entries on lines relevant to that individual's return. By eliminating all of the unused blank lines and instructions, IRS employees should be able to find and copy the information faster and with fewer mistakes, says Robert J. Carver, deputy assistant commissioner for returns processing.

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