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BATON ROUGE - In keeping with Gov. Mike Foster''s customer-service campaign to increase efficiency and save taxpayer dollars, Revenue Secretary Brett Crawford has announced that 650,000 taxpayers who have used alternative methods of filing their individual income tax return for the past two years will not be mailed a pre-addressed tax booklet in January.
"A close study of the Department''s processing statistics shows that last year, the Department mailed out nearly 1.6 million pre-addressed individual income tax booklets, but processed only about one-third of those returns," Secretary Crawford says. "The remaining one-million returns were processed through TeleFile, electronic filing, a paid-preparer''s substitute form, or through an on-line computer return." He adds that taxpayers who have used TeleFile will be mailed a TeleFile booklet.
"Taxpayers who use a paid professional tax preparer don''t need a tax booklet because most preparers have a computer software program that prints out a laser substitute return that is filed with the Department. Most taxpayers bring their pre-addressed booklet to the preparer thinking it will be used and sent to the Department for processing. Instead, the pre-addressed booklet is usually discarded," he says. "It is very inefficient and costly to print 650,000 unused booklets."
By eliminating the printing and mailing of 650,000 unused pre-addressed booklets, the state will save approximately $160,000 in printing costs and $100,000 in postage, Secretary Crawford says. He stresses that the savings will grow even larger in future years as greater numbers of taxpayers choose to use the popular alternative methods of filing that don''t require printed booklets.
As in past years, unaddressed booklets will still be available after January 1, 2000 by calling the Department''s toll-free number, (888) 829-3071, or at libraries, regional offices of the Department, and Internal Revenue Service offices in major metropolitan areas.
This year, for the first time, taxpayers may also download an individual income tax return form from the Department''s Internet web page at www.rev.state.la.us. "Taxpayers have requested this convenience and we are complying with those requests," Secretary Crawford adds. "However, a special message accompanying the forms will remind the taxpayer that the downloadable form cannot be processed by automatic electronic scanning equipment. This means that downloadable individual income tax forms will have to be manually processed. That, in turn, means it will take longer for a refund to reach the taxpayer."
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