News Releases

News Release

March 29, 2005  -  Columbus, Ohio  - Going Paperless:  Almost 70 Percent of Ohioans File Income Tax Returns Electronically - Tax Commissioner Encourages More Electronic Filing for Tax Dollar Savings

COLUMBUS (March 29) – With less than three weeks until the April 15 income tax filing deadline, most Ohio tax filers are embracing technology and going paperless. Almost 70 percent of Ohio income tax returns so far have been filed electronically, prompting Ohio Tax Commissioner William W. Wilkins to encourage even greater numbers of taxpayers to choose the electronic option. Filing electronically, the Commissioner said, is more convenient for the individual and saves Ohio millions in processing costs.

Paperless returns filed as of last week totaled 1,898,734, compared to 892,168 paper returns. That’s 68 percent of taxpayers who opted for electronic filing, out of a total of 2,790,902 returns filed so far. The Ohio Department of Taxation (ODT) expects to process a grand total of more than five million returns.

“Taxpayers benefit from filing their Ohio income tax returns electronically by getting refunds back within five to seven days, and they can avoid that long line of last minute taxpayers at the post office trying to get their paper returns in the mail,” Commissioner Wilkins stated.

Even those who owe money can benefit from electronic filing because they can file their return today – and select an electronic payment option that allows them to not have their return filed and the tax paid until the April 15 deadline.

The State of Ohio benefits when taxpayers file electronically because it costs so much less for ODT to process an electronic return compared to a paper one: about $1.15 for electronic vs. about $3 for paper.

“When you process more than five million returns as we do every year, the savings with electronic filing is huge,” Wilkins said. “So, I encourage ALL Ohioans: file electronically.”

If the taxpayer uses a tax preparer, Wilkins urged the taxpayer to ask their preparer to file electronically. Or, Wilkins noted, a taxpayer can go on-line to the ODT web site at tax.ohio.gov and file their state income tax and – if required – school district income tax using Ohio I-File. Ohio I-File is the electronic system developed by ODT, and it’s free to use.

Wilkins noted one advantage of using Ohio I-File or another electronic system is that it will “do your math for you,” which eliminates many errors. And for the approximately 75 percent of taxpayers who receive refunds each year, I-File gets it to them in about five to seven days.

Last year, ODT processed about 5.2 million returns, of which 47 percent – over 2.4 million – were filed electronically. The department estimated this saved $2.1 million in processing costs.

Citizens can get answers to questions on tax or electronic filing issues by visiting the “The Best Tips for Ohio Taxpayers” page on ODT’s web site or calling ODT Taxpayer Services at 1-800-282-1780.

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