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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, February 17, 2011

FONG: MANY NORTH DAKOTANS MAY BE MISSING OUT ON FREE E-FILE

BISMARCK, N.D. – Tax Commissioner Cory Fong encourages taxpayers to check into the free electronic filing found on the Tax Department web site www.nd.gov/tax. Fong is concerned that citizens might be missing out on a free electronic filing service that has been available since 2003.

“About 65 percent of taxpayers might qualify for free e-file,” said Fong, “and yet many are not taking advantage of that service.”

The Tax Department is a member of the Free File Alliance, a partnership between the state and federal governments and software developers to offer free e-filing for taxpayers who meet certain eligibility criteria. The criteria varies from company to company and are usually based on age, income, military status or earned income tax credit eligibility. Four companies offer free e-filing for tax filers in North Dakota who meet the requirements.

“The Tax Department offers an online interactive tool that will help taxpayers wade through the various e-file offers, including those that are free,” said Fong. “The Tax Department’s site offers several options that allow filers to simultaneously complete and file both their federal (IRS) and North Dakota state returns electronically. And, many North Dakota taxpayers will qualify to file their federal and state taxes at no charge.”

The interactive tool asks basic questions of the taxpayer and then serves up the best option. If the taxpayer meets the criteria for free e-file, that option is offered first.

Taxpayers who do not meet the criteria for free e-file, are directed to other e-file services that will best fit their filing needs.

“If taxpayers choose to pay for an online service, it’s a good idea to look at the various offers to find the best deal,” said Fong. “Some vendors charge for either the state or federal return, while others charge for both.

According to the Tax Department web site, thirteen companies are approved to e-file North Dakota’s tax returns. These companies charge a fee that goes directly to the company and those fees vary starting at about $10 and on up.

“Those fees go directly to the company,” said Fong, “the Tax Department does not charge a fee for e-file nor does it receive any of those fees.”

Fong also reminded taxpayers to use the Tax Department’s web site to find a company to prepare and e-file their returns rather than the IRS web site. Taxpayers who select a company from the IRS web site might be directed to a company that offers free e-file only for the federal return and charges a fee for the state return. The IRS site also includes companies that do not support the North Dakota forms.

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

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