HARRISBURG – Improvements to the state’s electronic income tax filing system now make it possible for owners of small businesses to join the millions of Pennsylvanians who enjoy the advantages of electronic tax filing, according to Department of Revenue Secretary Tom Wolf.
“Last year, approximately 3 million taxpayers — or 52 percent of all taxpayers — filed state income tax returns electronically,” said Secretary Wolf, who noted that electronic income tax filing systems are now operating and state tax forms have been mailed. “This year more small business owners can file income tax returns electronically because the department added the Schedule C for reporting business profits or losses to its Internet-based filing system.”
Taxpayers have until midnight, April 15, to file tax returns for 2007.
The three primary state tax forms are the 2007 PA-40 Personal Income Tax Booklet, the Fast File Booklet and the Payment Voucher Letter. The type of form each taxpayer receives in the mail is based on how taxpayers filed 2006 tax returns.
Most taxpayers will not receive the PA-40 tax booklet in the mail. Taxpayers who filed electronically using PA/IRS e-file software or the Revenue Department’s Web site and those who used the services of a tax preparer to file returns last year will receive a payment voucher letter. Approximately 4.7 million taxpayers will receive the letter that includes instructions and a voucher to mail with a check or money order if a payment is due. Approximately 748,000 taxpayers will receive the Fast File Booklet that includes instructions on filing taxes electronically and the TeleFile worksheet to be used when filing by telephone. Approximately 312,000 taxpayers will receive the PA-40 Personal Income Tax Booklet containing the traditional long form to prepare and file taxes with a paper return.
The department offers two, free electronic tax filing options: TeleFile (by telephone) and online. If a taxpayer filed a return last year, his or her Social Security number and five-digit ZIP code are all that is needed to file by telephone with TeleFile. To file using pa.direct.file, each taxpayer will need his or her SSN and one of the following: last year’s tax liability; PA driver’s license or identification number; or a registered e-signature account with the department. Also available is the PA/IRS e-file service (available through tax preparers and authorized computer software) that allows taxpayers to file state and federal tax returns together or separately.
“We strongly encourage taxpayers to file tax returns electronically,” said Wolf. “It is the most cost-effective and accurate method of filing a tax return, and electronic filing provides many more advantages for preparation, payments and refunds compared to filing a paper return.”
Refunds from electronically filed returns are processed in about half the time required for a paper tax return. Also, through e-filing, refunds can be directly deposited into a checking or savings account, which cannot be done with a paper return.
The electronic filing systems perform math calculations and eliminate errors that can delay the processing of a return and/or refund. In addition, each taxpayer receives instant confirmation that the department has received the filed return. Revenue’s electronic filing systems are secure and protected with 128-bit secure socket layer encryption, the industry standard for online banking and trading.
Through the department’s Web site, www.revenue.state.pa.us, taxpayers can file returns using pa.direct.file, make payments (including estimated payments), check the status of a return or refund, update information, pay taxes by credit card, access online customer service and download tax forms.
Forms are also available by calling the toll-free, automated forms ordering message service at 1-800-362-2050. Assistance is available by calling the Taxpayer Service & Information Center, (717) 787-8201, during office hours (7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday), or by visiting a Revenue district office.