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BATON ROUGE - During early January, more than 625,000 taxpayers are being mailed Tax Year 2002 pre-addressed individual income tax booklets, says Revenue Secretary Cynthia Bridges.
The number of booklets mailed this year represents a reduction of approximately 50,000 booklets from the number mailed last year. Bridges points out that the reduction is due to a growing number of taxpayers who file their returns electronically and do not need a pre-addressed booklet. She says the number of booklets mailed over the last four years has been reduced by approximately 850,000, saving the state $450,000 in printing and postage costs.
Taxpayers not receiving booklets may obtain blank resident and nonresident booklets at all libraries and regional offices of the Department. The forms are also available from the Department of Revenue’s Internet web page at www.rev.state.la.us. Taxpayers may also telephone any regional office of the Department and request a booklet be mailed to the address listed in the Department’s records. However, Bridges emphasizes that taxpayers who file their returns electronically will receive their refunds the fastest. Refunds from electronically filed returns average less than 10 days, while refunds from paper-filed returns average three weeks or longer.
Bridges points out that taxpayers should take note of the fact that the state has discontinued TeleFile as an optional filing method. In previous years, taxpayers could use TeleFile to file their return via a touchtone telephone. Bridges says taxpayers who used TeleFile last year should have already received a letter informing them that this optional filing method has been discontinued.
There are some changes to the resident booklet this year. The excess itemized deduction has been increased from 50 percent to 57.5 percent and the worksheet for this item has been moved to the top of Schedule D (Donations). The Excise Consumer Use Tax form has been removed and is now available on the Department’s web page. Schedule D, the Louisiana Breast Cancer Task Force and the Children’s Trust Fund have been removed as donation choices because they have not met donation requirements for two consecutive years.
New to the resident booklet this year is Schedule A - Part 2 - Refundable Tax Credits and Payments. Payments on declarations, payments with extensions, and credits carried forward have been moved to this schedule. Also moved to this schedule are the Inventory Tax Credit and the credit for property taxes paid by telephone companies. A new credit, Prison Industry Enhancement Program (PIE), has also been added.
In both the resident and nonresident booklets, last year’s modified federal worksheet has been removed. In the nonresident booklet, the lines for Adjustments to Income and the Total Louisiana Income have also been removed.
There are no changes in either booklet this year due to the “Stelly Plan,” a constitutional amendment passed by voters in November 2002. Under that amendment, certain temporary sales taxes were eliminated and replaced by an increase in the state income tax for upper bracket taxpayers. The increase begins with Tax Year 2003 and income tax changes made necessary because of the Stelly Plan will be reflected in booklets mailed to taxpayers in 2004.
Taxpayers have the options of filing a return electronically, filing through a professional paid-preparer, filing on-line from their personal computer, or filing the traditional paper return through the mail. For on-line filing, a list of approved software providers can be found on the Department’s web page. However, taxpayers should remember that these providers might charge for their software or for transmission of the on-line filing. Taxpayers also have the option of filing the state return free through the Department’s Internet web page at www.rev.state.la.us after January 10, 2003.
Substitute forms produced from commercial software programs that have been approved by the Department will also be accepted for processing. A list of companies whose substitute forms have been approved by the Department can be found on the Department’s web page.
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