General Electric in the US has filed their tax return, which would run to 24,000 pages if it were prepared traditionally on paper:
If the tax return was stacked up, it would be about eight feet tall. What is significant, though, about GE’s filing of its tax return is not the physical size, but rather that GE filed it electronically.
The IRS has required that companies with assets of $50 million or more must file electronically. Thus far about 3,000 companies have filed and the IRS is expecting in the range of 11,000 to 20,000 businesses to file this way.
What is of note for investors is the cost for GE to develop the means to file electronically. The initial capex was around $500,000 to $1,000,000, according to GE’s senior tax counsel John Samuels.
While this won’t significantly affect GE’s bottom line, for smaller companies it may be worth noting. Of course, companies will receive future cost savings after having made the conversion to an electronic filing system. The immediate benefit is fewer transcription errors on GE’s end (from electronic to paper) and at the IRS (from paper to electronic).