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If you were hoping the Internal Revenue Service would conveniently misplace your tax forms this year, don’t bank on it yet. Adobe Systems Inc. this week unveiled a new technology to improve forms processing, and the IRS is already testing it out.

Adobe, of San Jose, Calif., says its new bar-code technology for PDF forms will help businesses move data more easily from paper to electronic databases.

For example, a business could add the bar-code technology into a PDF containing a survey for its customers. The company could then make that survey accessible to customers over the Web, through e-mail or on CD. Once a customer completes the survey, a bar code is automatically created, capturing the data. If customers opt to mail the survey back as a paper document, the company can “scan the document, capture the data using an Adobe decode server or legacy system and supply it to a back-end system for processing,” said Adobe, in a statement.

Although businesses are increasingly relying on electronic communications, often paper forms are necessary, said Dan Baum, lead developer of Adobe’s new solution. For example, he said, “‘wet’ signatures are often required on documents or necessary support documents are only available in paper form.”

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