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600 E. Boulevard Ave.
  Bismarck, ND 58505-0599
  701.328.7088 phone
  701.328.3700 fax
  877.328.7088 toll-free
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Rick Clayburgh, Tax Commissioner, 701-328-2770
May 2, 2002 Jill Weigel, Supervisor, Individual Income Tax Section, 701-328-3277

Tax Returns Become More Efficient

BISMARCK--- State Tax Commissioner Rick Clayburgh today announced that the North Dakota Office of State Tax Commissioner saw fewer paper individual income tax returns being filed. Paper returns are giving way to newer, more efficient filing methods such as e-file and 2-D bar coded returns.

Tax Commissioner Rick Clayburgh said, “The 2-D bar code is the newest filing method. It’s a bridge between paper and electronic filing. This form is used by the professional tax preparers and software vendors who include a special bar code on their printed returns.”

The 2-D bar code is printed on paper returns that are mailed, rather than electronically filed. Tax professionals use a computer and special software to prepare a tax return and the program puts the unique 2-D bar code on the return, storing the taxpayer’s information within the 2-D bar code. This makes it possible for the Tax Department to process the returns as if they had been filed electronically. The bar code is then scanned, using equipment similar to that used by many retail stores. The scanning bypasses the data entry (keypunching) stage and virtually eliminates manual processing errors.

Clayburgh emphasized that every piece of paper, such as a tax return or check, involves many steps to process and increases the cost of state government. He said removing paper from the tax filing process ultimately benefits taxpayers by reducing the cost of government.

“Any time the Tax Department can eliminate manual paper processing, the taxpayer wins,” said State Tax Commissioner Rick Clayburgh. “Taxpayers are better served due to increased efficiency, accuracy, and speed. And state government costs less.”

So far, the Tax Department has processed almost 24,000 returns using the 2-D bar coding and over 77,000 e-filed returns. Added together, the 2-D bar coded and e-filed returns account for about 46 percent of the nearly 220,000 returns that the Tax Department has already processed.

“The Tax Department is using technology to improve processing so we can get refunds out faster,” said Clayburgh. “After all, this is the taxpayers’ money and we want them to have it as quickly as possible.”

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