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Traffic soars on Internet tax sites

Preparing and filing taxes online has its advantages, from a lower rate of processing errors by the IRS to a faster return of refunds.

Do-it-yourself preparation services were expected to draw 4.2 million households this year, up from 2 million last year, according to Internet research firm Jupiter Media Metrix.

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And many more people are going online for tax advice. The number of unique visitors to tax sites soared from 12.9 million in February 2000 to 16.4 million last month - a 27 percent jump.

But tax preparers needn't worry about losing work. A Media Metrix survey found that two-thirds of online users acknowledge they are reluctant to use online tax services because of privacy, reliability, and security concerns. In fact, 38 percent of people who regularly go online planned to use an accountant this year.

The five most-visited Internet tax sites in February:

SITE VISITORS

IRS.gov 6,704,000 Quicken.com 4,802,000 Fedworld.gov 4,603,000 Intuit.com 4,489,000 Turbo Tax* 4,077,000

*An aggregation of three Turbo Tax sites.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor