WASHINGTON - Individual taxpayers reported earning about $44.27 billion of tax-exempt interest in 1991 - 10.06% more than in 1990, according to the Internal Revenue Service's preliminary estimate of 1991 tax returns.

The new estimate, contained in the Statistics of Income Bulletin for spring 1993, released late last week, differs sharply from the preliminary figures for 1991 published by the IRS in January.

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