The income tax department saved Rs 977.5 crore on postage cost in the last five years as it started sending more emails, The Indian Express reported on Monday, citing the Finance Ministry’s estimates. The number of emails the department sent to taxpayers in April-December 2017 was more than two times the number in 2013-’14.

The department sent 14.15 crore emails to taxpayers from April to December 2017, as compared with 59.3 lakh in 2010-’11. The number has grown steadily since 2011, and peaked at 23.2 crore emails in 2015-’16 – the year in which the tax department introduced paperless assessment.

The ministry made the estimate of the savings in postage cost by assuming an average cost of Rs 15 per communication sent by speed post or ordinary post.

The Bengaluru-based Central Processing Centre of the income tax department has sent 73.7 crore digitally-signed emails, around 68 crore text message alerts, and around 4.2 crore speed posts, the data showed.