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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: Beth Boustead, Public Information Specialist, 701.328.3039
Thursday, January 20, 2011

FONG: FREE FILE AND E-FILE SYSTEMS READY

BISMARCK, N.D. – Tax Commissioner Cory Fong announced today that the e-file system is up and running and taxpayers can begin filing their tax returns online. Fong says that taxpayers will get their refunds faster when they file on-line. Last year, over 70 percent of North Dakota’s taxpayers did just that during the normal filing season.

“E-file is the best and fastest way for taxpayers to complete and file their individual income tax returns,” said Fong. “Last year over 70 percent of taxpayers filed their income tax returns electronically.”

The Tax Department offers taxpayers two options to select from when considering electronically filing their returns – Free File and IRS e-file. The Free File system is an option for people who meet certain eligibility criteria, usually based on income, age, or military status.

“The Free File offers free web-based tax preparation and filing for about 65 percent of North Dakota’s individual income tax filers,” said Fong. “And yet we know that most eligible taxpayers are not taking advantage of that offer. Our goal this year is to do what we can to encourage taxpayers to use the free service.”

Free File is available to North Dakotans through a partnership called the Free File Alliance. This partnership consists of the State of North Dakota, the IRS, and a number of private tax software companies who make their product available for free to qualified taxpayers. This year, four companies are partnering with North Dakota to offer the free filing services to North Dakota taxpayers. Those companies include Intuit (maker of TurboTax), Online Taxes, TaxHawk, and TaxSlayer. Taxpayers can access the free file offers on the Tax Department web site at www.nd.gov/tax.

Taxpayers who do not qualify for the free file offers may still file electronically for a fee through the IRS e-file system. The IRS e-file system allows taxpayers to select from a number of companies to complete and electronically file their return for a fee. The fees vary, starting at about $10 this year. Fong encourages individuals to carefully read the offers when selecting a company through the IRS web site because many of the companies listed on the IRS site do not support the North Dakota forms.

“It is important that taxpayers access the Free File and e-file options through the North Dakota Tax Department’s web site at www.nd.gov/tax,” said Fong. “Taxpayers who access an electronic option on the IRS site or another web site could find themselves paying for a service that might be free if accessed from our web site. Or, taxpayers could find out too late that the site they selected does not support the North Dakota forms.”

To help taxpayers select a Free File or e-file service, the Tax Department has a free online tool available for taxpayers to use to determine which Free File offer for which they qualify. After answering a few basic questions the taxpayer will learn if they qualify for Free File. If a taxpayer does not qualify for a free service, the tool identifies which e-file companies will best fit their filing needs.

For more information, visit the Tax Department’s web site at www.nd.gov/tax or follow the Tax Department on Facebook.

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