Beat the Rush -- File Electronically for Faster Refunds

Date: 1/28/2005

RALEIGH – Taxpayers who want to get their state individual income tax refunds back fast can beat the rush by filing their returns electronically. Those who file their state and federal tax forms electronically typically get their state refund within four weeks or less. That’s faster than traditional paper filing.

Through the Federal/State Electronic Filing program, the Department of Revenue joins the Internal Revenue Service to provide an alternative to filing paper tax returns. The system allows taxpayers to file their state and federal individual income tax returns simultaneously or file their state return by itself.

In the 12 years North Carolina has participated in the program, the state has consistently ranked near the top nationally in the number of individual income tax returns filed electronically. Last year in North Carolina, more than 1.5 million individual income tax returns were filed electronically and over 8 million have been filed since the program began.

Taxpayers who have a personal computer and a modem can file their federal and state returns electronically by using tax preparation software that has been approved by the Department or they can use an on-line service. For taxpayers who don't have personal computers, many tax professionals will file federal and state returns electronically for a fee -- even if taxpayers prepare their own returns. To get a list of tax professionals in your area who offer electronic filing, visit the Department’s website at www.dor.state.nc.us (under Electronic Services, Electronic Filing, Individual Income, E-File) and enter your zip code.

Electronic filing is more accurate because the returns are prepared with software that checks and verifies all calculations -- reducing the number of mathematical errors. Taxpayers also receive an immediate confirmation that their return has been received, giving the taxpayer immediate proof of filing. And with electronic filing, taxpayers who owe the state money can also file their returns early and wait until the due date to pay the amount they owe. They can also have their refund deposited directly into their checking or savings account.

Taxpayers should not file their state and federal individual income tax returns before they receive a wage and tax statement from their employer. A tax professional who electronically files a state or federal return based on a paycheck stub can be denied participation in the Federal/State Electronic Filing program.

(Taxpayers who need more information about electronic filing should check the Department's website at www.dor.state.nc.us/electronic/pc-file for a list of approved software developers and links to their sites. Instructions for 'Filing Electronically Using A Home PC' and 'Filing Electronically Using A Tax Professional.' are also available online.)

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