Archive for Thursday, February 8, 2001

More people filing taxes electronically

February 8, 2001

As the April 15 tax deadline approaches, thousands of Kansas residents will be flocking to their computers instead of their mailboxes.

Electronic income tax filing is at an all-time high according to the Internal Revenue Service and the Kansas Department of Revenue.

Scott Holeman, public information officer at the revenue department, expects more than 400,000 Kansas residents to file their taxes over the Internet this year. The number of electronic filings has increased steadily over the past few years, Holeman said. Last year, close to 350,000 of the 1.5 million returns filed in Kansas were done electronically.

The Internal Revenue Service has also seen the number of electronic filings increase steadily over the past few years.

Last year, more than 25 million people filed electronically, up 16 percent from the year before.

According to a report from the IRS, electronic filing is faster and more accurate than filing by mail. The report reads that electronic returns are "virtually error proof," with an error rate of less than one percent. Paper returns have historically had an error rate of between 20 and 21 percent.

According to John O'Berg of Jim O'Berg CPA in Eudora, the real appeal of electronic filing is the expediency.

"If you want a refund back right away, then it's the way to go," he said.

O'Berg said his office files electronic returns for its clients every Thursday at 9 a.m.

"Then, if they use direct deposit, the refund is deposited in their bank account the Friday of the following week," he said.

O'Berg's not sure he agrees with the IRS contention that filing electronically is easier than filing with paper.

"It's really not easier for us," he said. "Actually it makes it a little harder because you have an additional step, downloading the files. Then you have to enter all of the information on the client's bank account."

Those having to pay taxes can also file electronically, but they still have to send their payment in by April 16, or include a bank routing number on their return so the money can be withdrawn from their bank account.

Because April 15 falls on a Sunday this year, the deadline has been extended one day.

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