Officials Urging Residents to Use Free File SoftwareBy Daniel Cherry | Published 19 Feb 2013 07:19pm |
Seventy percent of Mississippi taxpayers are eligible to file their state and federal income taxes at no cost. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports, state officials are pushing free filing services so residents can get the most out of their return.
The average itemized tax return costs more than 230 dollars according to the National Society of Accountants. Mississippi taxpayers who earned less than 57 thousand dollars in 2012 can hang on to that money if they take advantage of a state sponsored program. Kathy Waterbury with the Mississippi Department of Revenue says their website has software to allow residents to file for free.
"That is a great benefit to our people because when you file electronically you're filing a return more accurately, and you're going to get your return back more quickly", says Waterbury
State officials are urging residents to use the program because the software catches errors and tax credits that might go unnoticed on paper. David Macklin is with the Computer and Communications Industry Association.
Macklin says, "It will say, 'Hey, you know what? It looks like from the information that you put in you might be eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit or other credits. Would you like to work on that now?' And you'd want to say yes. It really does try to prompt you for those, and it doesn't let you miss them."
E-filing also means less paperwork and less processing costs, and that saves the state a tremendous amount of money each year. Lynn Fitch, Mississippi Treasurer, says the plan is, when it's free and easy, people who might have avoided filing taxes will now file.
"This allows them to get into the stream and easily access their filings, and then they'll be more compliant as the years go by. And, hopefully, they all get returns back. If you're someone who's filing, have not done it in the past and you get some dollars back, certainly in this economic time to get a tax refund would be beneficial", says Fitch.
Mississippi's public libraries and WIN Job Centers are just some of the places offering free access to the Internet so residents can file their taxes.
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