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A Publication Featuring The Information Services Technology of Maine State Government
|VolumeV, Issue 2||February 2002|
By Brian Hodges
Maine Revenue Services (MRS) offers you three fast, easy, and convenient ways of filing your Maine State income taxes, otherwise known as Fast File. Fast File is quicker and more accurate than filing a paper return and, because it reduces costs, it saves money for all of Maines taxpayers. Importantly, safeguards are designed into each of the three systems to ensure all tax returns are secure. Direct Deposit of your refund is available on all three applications.
Last season, MRS presented a challenge to itself to refund any monies due within 14 days of a successful electronic transmission. This goal was met and many Maine taxpayers received their refund within 7 days because they chose to electronically Direct Deposit their refund. This year taxpayers who have established a Next Generation College Investment Savings Plan account (NextGen account) also have the option of having their refund directly deposited into this account. Taxpayers may check the status of their refund by visiting the MRS website at www.state.me.us/revenue and selecting "electronic services". They may also call the automated TeleRefund system at (207) 626-8461.
The following three options are available with Maine Fast File:
|I-File: Free Internet filing. You fill out basic financial
information and we perform all the calculations for you. Specific information is required
from your Federal return and W-2/1099 series forms so please be sure to have these
available before proceeding with I-Filing your return. We have also designed a
demonstration of the application if you are not quite sure you would like to use this
method. New to I-File this season is delayed payment for balance due returns. Previously,
taxes could be paid electronically by submitting your bank routing number, bank account
number, and whether it was savings or checking. Funds were withdrawn from the
individuals account within three business days. This procedure has been enhanced.
Taxpayers now have the ability to elect a future date up to April 16, 2002 for withdrawal
of the funds from their personal bank account.
E-File: File using approved software or with a
participating tax preparer. Although E-File may not be free, certain taxpayers prefer
this method of electronic filing because, for a nominal fee, they can often transmit both
their Federal and their State tax return in one setting. Participating software companies
offer varying levels of guidance and assistance with preparation of your taxes. Both
retail and online varieties are available. This season, MRS is pleased to announce full
year participation by Intuits home software product, Turbo Tax, as well as full year
participation by their Intuit ProSeries product that is utilized by the tax professional
community. MRS Website has listings of the software products also supporting the
Maine E-File program. In addition, a link to the Internal Revenue Services Website
will list those tax professionals approved as electronic filing preparers. As mentioned
under I-File, delayed payment of a balance due return is also available when E-Filed.
Telefile: Use your touch-tone telephone if you received a Telefile booklet in the mail. Maine Revenue Services Telefile program has been in existence since 1996 and many of Maines taxpayers are loyal to this functionality. Taxpayers who receive a personalized Short Form/Telefile booklet in the mail are eligible to use the Telefile system. Read the instruction sheet found on page 6 of the booklet to determine if you are restricted from using Telefile. If no restrictions apply, it is important to complete the worksheet found on page 7 before proceeding with the Telefile call. Although Telefile does not offer the delayed payment option as do I-File and E-File, Telefile does offer the ability for taxpayers to pay balance due returns via credit card.
Electronic filing is certainly the wave of the future. Last tax season, MRS received approximately 20% of their tax returns by one of the three methods listed above and we are anticipating a substantial increase for this tax season. 270,000 PIN postcards were mailed to Maine taxpayers giving them the opportunity to file a truly paperless tax return. All pre-printed tax booklets also contain a PIN for use with true paperless filing. Electronic returns may still be filed without the use of a PIN. The only stipulation is that a one page "signature document" be forwarded to MRS along with any W-2/1099 series forms attached. If your return is prepared and transmitted by a preparer, MRS will allow your preparer to retain the signature document thus providing a paperless return.
To increase public awareness, advertising efforts have been increased for this season. Some formats include a revamped television commercial featuring Maine entertainer Tony Montanaro, radio spots, payroll check stub messages, posters displayed in tax preparers places of business, posters displayed in public areas (post offices, libraries, etc.), full page advertisements on Maine income tax booklets, as well as several other mediums.
For more information on any of Maine Revenue Services Fast File electronic filing options, please visit our website at www.state.me.us/revenue or call the MRS Income Tax division at (207) 626-8475.
Brian Hodges is a Management Analyst II in the Systems and Programming Division of Maine Revenue Services. He joined MRS in 1998 after working for 6 years with the Department of Labor. He may be reached by calling (207) 624-9709 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.