It can be a frustrating feeling for the taxpayer to realize that even though he qualifies for a refund on his state income tax that part of the refund returns to the state as a "convenience fee" for his participating in an electronic filing program. Electronic filing offers many conveniences over traditional filing, but the fees are a barrier to the universal usage of electronic state income tax filing.
History of Electronic Filing Fees
A number of tax preparation software solutions allow taxpayers to file their taxes either online, through a desktop software application, or through a tax preparer. State government has charged a file fee to the individuals who have used the electronic methods to file their income taxes.
Lessons Learned By State Government
Over time many taxpayers have started to use these electronic filing applications. State tax officials have noticed that their agencies are saving millions of dollars because employees no longer have to try to read/decipher the taxpayer's handwriting on written tax forms and re-enter the data into the tax agency's enterprise software. This savings can be re-invested by agency officials who are always desperate for income.
The Reason for Free Electronic Filing
State officials know that punitive fees discourage taxpayers from using services. Their experience with the commercial software applications has taught them that taxpayers like the convenience of electronic filing and that electronic filing saves the agencies millions of dollars. However, it is difficult to know how many thousands of taxpayers still send in their tax forms the traditional way to avoid the electronic file fee. This experience has given rise to the effort on the part of state officials to consider eliminating these fees to entice additional electronic filing and save the tax agencies more money.
How to Determine If Your State Has Free Filing
A basic Internet search for your state's tax agencies website should allow you to visit the site and discover if the agency allows free income tax filing. The agency may allow you to file your income taxes for free directly from its website.
Not Always Applicable
Residents in 9 U. S. states do not have to worry about the electronic filing fee issues by virtue of the fact that state government does not require the payment of a state income tax. These states are Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, Wyoming, New Hampshire and Tennessee.
- Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Blake Patterson
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