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News Release 011200

January 12, 2000  -  Columbus, Ohio  -  File These Tax Tips

by Thomas M. Zaino, Tax Commissioner

Ohio taxpayers this year will have more choices and more convenience than ever in filing income tax returns. The Ohio Department of Taxation has made changes which give more people more options for filing returns and an even faster way to get a refund.

Ohioans have four different methods for filing their 1999 income taxes: TeleFile; Electronic Filing; the 1040EZ for ‘easy’ returns; and Ohio’s standard 1040.

TeleFile, which enables pre-selected taxpayers to file by telephone, has been expanded this year. This quick and easy filing method is being offered now to many married couples, filing jointly or separately. In addition, the qualifying income level for Tele Filers has been increased to $100,000 per return, up from $50,000 in 1998. These changes make telephone filing available to an additional 500,000 taxpayers. If you receive a TeleFile booklet in the mail, you’re eligible to file by phone.

New this year, for taxpayers who choose to TeleFile or who file electronically (E-File), is the option of having tax refunds deposited directly in a checking or savings account. This direct deposit service, a joint project of the Department of Taxation and the Auditor of State, is the fastest way to receive a tax refund. Refunds will be deposited within seven to ten days of filing.

Speedy refunds and convenience are attracting a growing number of Ohio taxpayers to the E-File program. More than 650,000 people filed electronically last year. That’s a record for Ohio and the second highest rate in the country.

Most people E-File with the help of tax practitioners who are authorized electronic filing providers. Other people use their own computer and special tax preparation software to file their income tax returns electronically. State, federal and school district income tax returns may be filed electronically.

For those who prefer to file a "paper" return, the 1040EZ form offers another easy way to file. The EZ form was revamped last year to meet the needs of more Ohio taxpayers. The most frequently filed income tax return is Ohio’s 1040 form. If you are filing the Ohio 1040, there are some new deductions this year. Check inside the cover of the instruction booklet for more information. The 1040EZ and 1040 forms have been mailed to taxpayers throughout the state. If you need additional forms, they’ll be available after January 20, 2000 at local banks, post offices and libraries. You can also call 1-800-282-1782 and we’ll mail or fax the forms you need.

To enhance customer service, the Department of Taxation is expanding its hours at taxpayer assistance telephone centers. In addition, state tax department personnel will be available at Internal Revenue Service (IRS) sites in five cities: Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Toledo. For exact locations and times for individual assistance, call I-800-282-1780. Regular business hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

A resource that’s available for taxpayers anytime is the Department of Taxation website. You can obtain tax forms, loads of information and the answers to many frequently asked income tax questions. Visit us at http://tax.ohio.gov/.

All of us at the Ohio Department of Taxation are committed to making our state’s tax system work as efficiently as possible for taxpayers. We welcome any comments or suggestions that will help us make the system work better for you.

Thomas M. Zaino became the Ohio Tax Commissioner in July, 1999. Previously, he was a partner with the accounting firm PricewaterhousCoopers. Mr. Zaino holds a B.B.A. in accounting from the University of Cincinnati and a law degree from The Ohio State University.

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