News Releases

News Release

February 11, 2008 - Ohio Offers Speedy New Way to File Income Tax Returns

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Income tax filing season is again underway in Ohio – and with the new season comes yet another way for Ohio taxpayers to cut through the red tape and get a state income tax refund fast.

New for this year is eForms, a new electronic tax return filing service rolled out this year by the Ohio Department of Taxation that may be the first of its kind in the nation. It supplements I-File, an electronic tax return filing system the department has offered since 2001.

Both eForms and I-File are free. Both allow taxpayers to submit a state income tax return directly to the department at tax.ohio.gov.

The key difference is the interface. I-File relies largely on a “wizard” that builds a return for taxpayers by asking a series of questions about W-2s, dependents and other information.

Through eForms, taxpayers may complete online versions of major state income tax forms, just as they have done for years with pen and paper. The eForms are Adobe Acrobat files that will compute most of the math automatically for taxpayers. Once the forms are complete, taxpayers may print them, save them to their hard drive, or submit them directly to the department by clicking “send.”

“We’ve had tremendous response to I-File since it was introduced. But we also recognize some taxpayers like working directly with tax forms the old-fashioned way,” Tax Commissioner Richard A. Levin said. “Through eForms, we are offering the best of both worlds: tax forms that taxpayers are familiar with, and yet another way to cut to the front of the line and get a refund fast.”

Filing a tax return electronically is the single fastest way to get a state income tax refund in Ohio. For taxpayers who file electronically, refunds are usually available by electronic deposit within five to seven days.

In contrast, taxpayers who file on paper close to the April 15, 2008 deadline – when the department will receive more than 100,000 returns each day – may have to wait six to eight weeks to receive a refund check by mail.

“There’s no way around it: Processing paper takes time,” Levin said. “Filing electronically cuts through the red tape.”

In addition to I-File and eForms, the Ohio Department of Taxation offers two other ways to complete an income tax return without using a pen and paper. They include the Internal Revenue Service eFile program, available through paid preparers and common tax return software packages, and the Telefile program, available to taxpayers who filed by telephone last year.

The new eForms option is the single biggest change for the new state income tax filing season. Other major changes include:

  • Lower tax rates. The 2007 tax tables include a 4.2 percent cut across all income tax brackets when compared to the previous tax year. The lower rates mark the third year of a five-year plan to reduce state income tax rates by 21 percent across all brackets. The plan, enacted by the Ohio General Assembly in 2005, was embraced by Governor Ted Strickland in his 2008-09 state budget plan.
  • A new military tax exemption: Servicemen and women who received pay while stationed outside Ohio may now deduct this military pay in arriving at their Ohio adjusted gross income.

Income tax returns due by April 15, 2008 cover the 2007 tax year. This means some recently publicized tax changes won’t apply to this filing season. For example, while military pensions were exempted from the state income tax effective Jan. 1, 2008, this change doesn't affect the current filing season.

For more information on the Department of Taxation’s paperless filing options, visit tax.ohio.gov.

               

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Note: For a review of all of Ohio's paperless income tax filing options, click here.