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Archive for Sunday, February 14, 1999

ALTERNATE FILING GETS STATE NOD

February 14, 1999

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Most Kansas taxpayers will be eligible to file individual state returns with their home computers this year.

About 167,000 Kansans filed federal tax returns by computer or telephone last year, and the Internal Revenue Service has visions of double-digit growth in that number this year.

"We're hoping it'll be much higher," said Rollie Woods, a spokesman with the IRS office in St. Louis that covers Missouri and Kansas.

The reason: Electronic filing saves money and time.

For those same reasons, the state Department of Revenue is giving most Kansas taxpayers a way to file individual state returns with their home computers this year.

"Ever since we put Kansas tax forms on our home page in 1996, we've had users tell us they want a way to file online," Revenue Secretary Karla Pierce said. "Kansas PC File gives them that."

Taxpayers can go to the department's home page at www.ink.org/public/kdor, click on the "File Free" prompt and download forms necessary to file either a short form or for itemized deductions, Pierce said.

The system can't be used for corporate income tax returns.

To be eligible to file online, a taxpayer must have filed a paper state tax return last year and have a computer with Windows 95 or better, Pierce said.

Taxpayers also can prepare returns with the help of a software package that's either installed on the taxpayer's computer or downloaded from the Internet. After the return is prepared, the data is transmitted to a vendor that reformats the data and ships it to the state or the IRS.

Last year, only about 9,000 Kansans filed federal returns that way, the IRS said.

Many more Kansans -- 97,000 -- filed electronically with the help of an approved tax preparer who sent the return to the IRS electronically.

And about 61,000 Kansans used TeleFile, the IRS' file-by-phone option.

Under the program, taxpayers who qualify to use the system can file their return with a 10-minute phone call. The system is paperless, with users simply completing a worksheet, calling a toll-free number and following instructions.

The IRS has mailed a special instruction booklet to people it thinks may qualify to use the program.

And the TeleFile idea is expanding. Kansas has its own program that lets residents file their state returns by telephone.

-- Richard Brack's phone message number is 832-7194. His e-mail address is rbrack@ljworld.com.

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