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BATON ROUGE - Louisiana taxpayers are encouraged to file their state income tax returns as early as possible since nearly 70% of filers are entitled to a refund, according to Secretary of Revenue John Kennedy.
"Our priority at the Department of Revenue is to ensure the prompt and speedy refund of any money owed the taxpayer," says Secretary Kennedy. "Since the overwhelming majority of income tax filers are due a refund, the earlier they file the faster they get their money back." The deadline for filing 1998 Louisiana income tax returns is Monday, May 17, 1999.
Nearly $90 million to date has been refunded to the taxpayers of Louisiana for the 1998 tax year. Of the approximately 886,457 state income tax returns received to date, 591,693 refunds have been issued, with the average refund being $141.08. In addition to the 582,368 paper tax returns filed, 250,410 returns were filed using the Electronic Filing option, 50,254 were filed using the TeleFile program and 3,425 taxpayers utilized the new Online Filing option.
To date, the average time for the issuance of refunds by the Department is 13 days for paper returns, 5 days for the Electronic Filing and 4 days for TeleFile. Again this year, direct deposit of tax refunds for Electronic and Online Filing is an option being offered by the Department. So far this year, over 19,000 refunds have been issued and deposited directly into bank accounts by using direct deposit.
"I am encouraged by the number of people who are taking advantage of our new ''paperless'' tax filing programs such as TeleFile, Electronic Filing, and Online Filing and seeing how easy and convenient they are," says Secretary Kennedy. "These programs are lowering the cost of handling tax returns, saving taxpayer money, expediting the issuance of refunds, and giving Department employees more time to spend on expanding other customer services."
One of those customer services is the highly successful Taxpayer Refund Status Line. By dialing the toll-free number, 1-888-829-3071, taxpayers can confirm that their Louisiana individual income tax return has been received and determine the status of their refund. (In the Baton Rouge area, taxpayers can call 225-922-3270 for the same service.) Every Louisiana taxpayer is eligible to participate in this service which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. "For the first three months of this year, over 230,000 state income taxpayers called and received information," says Secretary Kennedy. "The average call took just over a minute and most callers got through the first time with no busy signals."
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