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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 Contact: Rick Clayburgh, Tax Commissioner 701-328-2770
February 21, 2003

More Taxpayers May File Electronically for Free This Year

BISMARCK --- Tax Commissioner Rick Clayburgh announced that more North Dakota taxpayers may be eligible for free electronic filing of their individual income tax return this year.

"Last year, President Bush proposed free online tax filing as one of his E-Government initiatives," said Commissioner Clayburgh. "As a result, more taxpayers may now benefit from free online tax filing services."

The IRS partnered with Free File Alliance, LLC, a consortium of tax software companies, to help taxpayers prepare and file electronically tax returns for free. Each Free File Alliance member has their own set of specific taxpayer eligibility criteria. The requirements, which can vary from company to company, are usually based on factors such as age, military status, adjusted gross income, and so on - in order for the taxpayer to qualify for free e-file.

Clayburgh cautioned that many of the companies listed with the Free File Alliance provide free electronic filing for the federal return only.

"Not all of the companies listed with the Free File Alliance provide free e-file for state income tax returns," said Clayburgh. "Taxpayers should carefully read the information provided by the company to find out what forms the company is able to transmit and if there is a charge for filing the state return."

Last year, the Tax Department received nearly 78,000 state income tax returns electronically. Of that, the Intuit Tax Freedom Project, the only company offering free e-file for low-income taxpayers last year, provided free e-file for about five percent, or nearly 4,200 state returns. This year, the Tax Department expects to receive over 300,000 returns, and anticipates 100,000 of those will be filed electronically.

"Any time we can replace a paper transaction with an electronic one, the taxpayers win," said Clayburgh. "Taxpayers will find e-file to be a simple and easy process and e-filed returns help the state government save money," said Clayburgh.

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. Paper returns must be opened, sorted, and the data is manually scanned or entered into the computer system. By electronically filing the individual income tax return, the information goes directly into the Tax Department processing systems.

For more information about electronic filing and Free File opportunities, visit the Office of State Tax Commissioner's web site at www.nd.gov/tax.

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