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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
January 16, 2004

Taxpayers May Qualify for free e-file

BISMARCK --- Tax Commissioner Rick Clayburgh announced that the Tax Department has mailed postcards to nearly 100,000 North Dakota taxpayers who may be eligible for free electronic filing of their individual income tax return this year.

"Free electronic filing is good news for taxpayers because it offers them the latest in tax preparation software and combines it with e-filing," said Clayburgh. "The question-and-answer format of the e-file products makes the process easy for taxpayers to follow and use."

The North Dakota Tax Department partnered with Free File Alliance, a consortium of tax software companies, to help taxpayers prepare and electronically file tax returns for free if they meet certain eligibility criteria. The eligibility requirements vary with each software company, and 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.

"Taxpayers can find an online tax preparation company that offers free e-file for their federal and North Dakota income tax return by visiting our Web site," said Clayburgh.

Taxpayers who do not qualify for the free electronic filing are able to e-file using Internet services offered by tax preparation companies, by purchasing commercial tax software, or through their tax preparer. Taxpayers who do not have a computer are encouraged to visit a local library that has Internet access.

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

Clayburgh said, "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 about 104,000 state income tax returns electronically. This year, the Tax Department expects to receive over 300,000 paper and electronic returns, and anticipates receiving 135,000 returns electronically.

"Any time we can replace a paper transaction with an electronic one, the taxpayers win," 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 then the data is manually scanned or entered into the computer system. By electronically filing, the information goes directly into the Tax Department processing systems.

Taxpayers may have a refund deposited directly into their bank account. And, if they owe tax, they may use a credit card to pay online.

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

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