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Revenue Secretary Says Electronic Filing Means Faster Tax Refunds

April 12, 2001

BATON ROUGE - As the April 16 deadline approaches for filing federal individual income tax returns, Louisiana Department of Revenue Secretary Cynthia Bridges reminds taxpayers that filing their state returns electronically will allow them to receive any refund in the fastest possible time.

"Although the state income tax deadline is May 15, there will be an enormous peak next week in the filing of state returns because of the April 16 federal tax deadline," Bridges says. “State refunds from electronically filed returns are now taking only 6-8 days," she points out. Refunds from the traditional paper returns have been averaging about two weeks and are expected to average three weeks or longer as the May 15 deadline approaches. As of April 11, Revenue had made 300,366 refunds for electronically filed returns. The average refund time on those refunds has been seven days.

Bridges reminds taxpayers that they have a new electronic filing option this year. Taxpayers can file their state return free of charge from the Department of Revenue’s web page at www.rev.state.la.us. She emphasizes that only the state return can be filed from the web page. However, she adds that the Department maintains links from the web page to approved commercial software providers who can electronically file both the state and federal return, but may charge a fee.

Besides, faster refunds, Bridges says there are other advantages to electronic filing. First, she says electronic filing programs calculate the tax figures automatically, thereby eliminating common math errors that can delay processing. She says another advantage is for the taxpayer who owes additional tax. “Those taxpayers can electronically file their state return now and pay the additional tax any time up to the May 15 deadline without any penalty or interest,” Bridges says.

In addition to the web page option, other electronic filing options include filing through a paid tax professional and using TeleFile. TeleFile gives taxpayers the option to file their state return using a touch-tone telephone. "To use TeleFile, a taxpayer must be pre-qualified by the Department," Bridges points out. Pre-qualified taxpayers were mailed special TeleFile booklets in January that contain a Personal Identification Number (PIN) for security purposes, along with instructions for filing. Bridges says anyone who wishes to TeleFile but did not receive a TeleFile booklet, should call the Department toll-free at 1-888-829-3071 to see if they qualify. Those who do qualify will be mailed a TeleFile booklet and a PIN.