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BATON ROUGE - More than 675,000 taxpayers will receive their tax year 2001 individual income tax booklet during the first two weeks of January, says Revenue Secretary Cynthia Bridges. But she adds that taxpayers who electronically file will receive their refunds the fastest.
“Taxpayers who file electronically will receive their refunds in as little as 7-10 days,” Bridges says. “Taxpayers who file the traditional paper returns will get their refunds, on average, in 3-4 weeks.” She adds that the number of Louisiana taxpayers who filed electronically last year increased 28 percent to 472,641. “That total is about 26 percent of Louisiana’s 1.8 million tax returns,” Bridges points out, “but our goal is to increase that total by as many taxpayers as possible.”
Revenue’s website makes electronic filing easy and convenient, Bridges stresses. “Anyone with a personal computer and Internet access can go to the Department’s web page at www.rev.state.la.us and file their state return free of charge. Although federal returns cannot be filed through this option, Bridges adds that her department maintains links from its web page to approved commercial software providers. However, she points out that some providers may charge a fee for their software or for electronic filing of the state and federal returns. She says taxpayers also have the option to file electronically through paid professional tax preparers.
Bridges says the number of pre-addressed booklets mailed this year represents a reduction of approximately 25,000 booklets from the number mailed last year. The state has been able to reduce the mailing of pre-addressed booklets by approximately 800,000 over the past three years by not mailing booklets to taxpayers who use alternative methods of filing, such as electronic filing, TeleFile, or those who used a paid-preparer. During that time, Bridges says the state has been able to save taxpayers more than $337,000 in printing and mailing costs.
This year, both Form IT-540 (resident return) and Form IT-540B (nonresident return) remain in machine-scannable formats that allows for machine processing. However, a number of changes have been made to the tax year 2001 returns. On both the Resident and Nonresident return, a new line has been added to allow taxpayers to contribute all or part of any refund to the Student Tuition and Revenue Trust (START) savings program.
A new Consumer Excise Tax Return has also been added to the Resident booklet this year. Taxpayers should use this form if they purchased alcohol or tobacco products for personal consumption from out-of-state companies via mail order, catalogs, or the Internet, and were not properly charged Louisiana excise taxes. Both the Resident and Nonresident booklets also have had a new worksheet included so taxpayers can compute a modified federal income tax deduction for Line 9 of the Resident return or Line 12E of the Nonresident return. The purpose of this worksheet computation is to neutralize any negative impact occurring as a result of the advance tax credit payment received by most taxpayers as a result of the passage by Congress of the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001.
Schedule D (Donation Schedule) has also changed this year. The Senior Citizens’ Trust Fund has been deleted and replaced with the Louisiana Cancer Trust Fund-Prostate Cancer. On Schedule E (Adjustments to Income), a new line has been added to list any exemptions of up to $2,400 per START account.
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