CHICAGO – Revenue Director Glen Bower, Comptroller Dan Hynes, and State Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka, on January 11th, 2000, unveiled initiatives to encourage taxpayers to file their tax returns electronically.
One initiative is designed to pay accurately filed state income tax refunds „in about 10 days’ to taxpayers who both file electronically and have their refunds direct deposited into their bank accounts.Topinka and Bower also announced an expansion of the treasurers office credit card program that will let Illinoisans pay their income taxes by credit card.
„The three state officials touted the ease, cost-effectiveness and speed of electronic commerce. By paying refunds in about 10 days and allowing credit card payments, we give taxpayers reasons to use electronic filing..” said Bower.
„This program is a win-win situation,”
Hynes said. „Taxpayers receive their money more quickly and the state saves money in the process.”
Hynes said that more than 126,000 taxpayers, one out of five eligible, used direct deposits for their income tax refund last year. Topinka said that in July she negotiated a master credit card agreement that lets agencies like the Department of Revenue offer this service for the first time. Taxpayers can make payments by calling a toll-free number and using Master Card, Discover, or American Express.
„America continues to move toward a paperless society, and I believe that government should adjust to the changing times to better serve its citizens,” Topinka said. „By allowing Illinois to pay their taxes through the use of credit/debit cards, we can offer an efficient way to conduct state business faster, while providing quality service. We’ve been working with Director Bower and his staff over the past several months and I’m pleased that they have signed on to our program. It’s a tremendous opportunity for the taxpayers of the state,” Topinka added.
Besides offering faster refunds and credit card payments, the Department of Revenue has made several other enhancements to its electronic filing program, including:
Letting taxpayers choose among four electronic filing options instead of preselecting taxpayers who can file in a specific way.- Tripling the numbers of taxpayers who can file via the Internet-
Providing a Personal Identification Number (PIN) in tax booklets that can be used as a signature for electronic filers.
Eliminating preprinted social security numbers in tax booklets, as a security precaution.Director Bower encouraged taxpayers to carefully review the criteria on page four of their tax booklets to select the electronic tax filing method that is best for them from options including:
I-File – free Internet filing through the department’s web site open to taxpayers whose only subtraction is their state tax refund and whose only credit is the property tax credit, using the PIN as a signature.
TeleFile – free filing by touch tone telephone available to taxpayers who have no additions or subtractions and no credits. Taxpayers must complete the TeleFile worksheet before calling the TeleFile phone number.
e-File – electronic filing through a tax professional, available to more than 5 million taxpayers.
retail software – filing through software either purchased off the shelf or offered online.
Each electronic filing method provides a confirmation number so the taxpayer can prove filing and each does computations that eliminate math errors.Bower said the faster refunds will not reduce scrutiny of tax filing and that each electronic return will go undergo the same review as a paper document. And he urged taxpayers to file their returns early in the season.