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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
Tuesday, February 8, 2005

Taxpayers May Qualify For Free E-File

BISMARCK --- Tax Commissioner Rick Clayburgh announced today that once again, taxpayers may be eligible for free online tax preparation and free electronic filing through a partnership between the North Dakota Tax Department and the Free File Alliance, a consortium of participating tax software companies.

"The Free File Alliance offers a great opportunity for thousands of North Dakota taxpayers," said Clayburgh. "It offers a quick, easy, and economical way for many taxpayers to electronically file their income taxes."

This is the second year that North Dakota has participated in the Free File Alliance. Through the Free File Alliance, taxpayers who meet certain criteria might be eligible for free electronic tax preparation and filing. 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. Through the Alliance, taxpayers may choose from a number of tax software companies that offer to electronically prepare and file their tax returns. There are differences between companies and Clayburgh advises taxpayers to carefully read the eligibility criteria and the type of services offered by each Alliance member. It is important that taxpayers go through the North Dakota web site at www.ndtaxdepartment.gov to access the Free File Alliance Companies rather than go to the IRS web site. The state e-filing offers are available only by going through the companies' links provided on the North Dakota Web site.

Clayburgh said, "We have a growing number of taxpayers who are getting rid of the pencil and paper and electronically completing the entire process from start to finish."

About 40 percent of North Dakota's individual income tax forms were e-filed last year - an increase of 25 percent from 2003. The Tax Department expects the number will increase this year because of the benefits e-file offers such as increased accuracy, faster refunds, and simplified filing.

"Some of the most common errors we find on paper returns include math errors. E-file reduces the chance for taxpayers to make a mistake," said Clayburgh. "Taxpayers simply answer a series of questions and the program does the number-crunching."

Clayburgh added that other benefits taxpayers notice include receiving their state refunds faster than paper filers - in as few as five days if they use Direct Deposit. And, taxpayers who file electronically file their North Dakota income tax returns and their federal income tax returns together through the Federal/State e-file program. The tax software automatically transfers relevant data from the federal return to the state return as the information is entered.

To learn more about Free File and e-file, visit the department's Web site at www.nd.gov/tax/.

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