News Releases

News Release

January 27, 2005  -  Columbus, Ohio  -  The Early Returns Are In: Ohio Taxpayers Flocking to Electronic Filing

COLUMBUS (January 26, 2005) – Ohio taxpayers, most eager to claim a tax refund, are filing their
returns electronically at a record rate – up 39 percent this year from the same period last year. As of January 25th, 128,112 taxpayers had filed their state income tax return electronically, an increase of 49,855 from the same point last year.

Ohio Tax Commissioner William W. Wilkins says electronic filing delivers more than just refunds. He
says it produces benefits for everyone, “All of us want to hold down government spending,” Wilkins
said, adding, “and when people file their Ohio individual income tax returns electronically, it cuts our
expenses considerably.” It costs the Ohio Department of Taxation (ODT) approximately $1.15 to
process an electronic return compared to $3 for a paper one.

Wilkins said last year almost half of the 5.2 million income tax returns filed came in electronically, saving about $2.1 million. This year he wants to push those numbers even higher, “Some states, like Michigan, are mandating electronic filing for higher-volume tax preparers. We’d like to see the program grow on a voluntary basis first. Electronic filing makes sense for everyone involved.”
Wilkins noted there are several ways to file Ohio income tax returns electronically. Taxpayers can file on-line using Ohio I-File, available at the ODT web site (tax.ohio.gov). They can file through a tax practitioner or with any number of commercially available tax preparation software programs.

In addition to saving taxpayer dollars, Wilkins said electronic filing offers many other advantages:

  • It employs the highest level of computer security.
  • It delivers the quickest refunds – usually in five to seven days – when the taxpayer chooses
    direct deposit to their bank account.
  • Ohio I-File (and TeleFile) has no fee. Most tax preparation programs charge extra for filing an electronic return with Ohio.
  • Fewer errors. Ohio I-File does the math and finds the correct tax rate.

One new feature this year is that Ohio I-File offers electronic filing of the school district income tax for residents of the 133 Ohio school districts that had an income tax in 2004.

Wilkins said the rapid pace of filing electronic returns probably will slow between now and April 15 but added he’s confident that Ohio will remain one of the top five states in the country in paperless returns, “Our goal is to have 80% of our returns come in electronically.” Wilkins said. “Getting rid of paper completely isn’t realistic at this point. But I would say to paper filers, on the basis of the cost savings alone, to please consider filing electronically this year, or ask their tax preparer to send their returns in electronically. It’s good for them and good for every taxpayer in Ohio.”

Fact Sheet: 2004's Most Important Tax Tip-File Your Return Electronically! (PDF)

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(For more information, contact Gary Gudmundson, ODT Communications Director, at (614) 644-6903.)