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Md. taxpayers awaiting many snappy returns

March 13, 1997

By JULIE E. GREENE

Staff Writer

Washington County residents looking for quicker state and federal income tax refunds may take advantage of high-tech filing methods, tax officials said Wednesday.

"It's not what you file that's changed. It's how you file that's changed," said Domenic J. LaPonzina, Internal Revenue Service spokesman.

As of Monday, almost 1 million taxpayers in Maryland and Washington, D.C., had filed their returns, LaPonzina said.

Of those 1 million returns, about 223,000 were filed electronically using computers, he said. That's a 13 percent increase over last year.

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Almost 70,000 returns were filed using touch-tone telephones, LaPonzina said. That's almost a 50 percent increase from last year.

The Maryland State Comptroller's office had received 123,308 tax returns electronically by Monday, said Marvin Bond, Maryland's assistant state comptroller.

That worked out to 346 more returns than had been received electronically during all of last year's filing season, Bond said.

As of Monday, 45 percent, or 24,258 Washington County taxpayers, had filed their state tax returns, said spokeswoman Alicia Moran.

Of the returns filed, 4,253 were filed electronically, she said.

Taxpayers usually get quicker responses when they file electronically, tax officials said.

It takes up to 2 1/2 weeks for those who file electronically to receive their refunds compared with five weeks for those who file by mail, LaPonzina said.

March is a great time to file tax returns because there's usually a lull before the flurry of filing as the April 15 deadline approaches, Moran said.

Other ways to speed up tax refunds include using:

  • Preprinted mailing labels, now located on the inside flap of the tax booklet. In past years, the labels were on the outside of the booklet.
  • Direct deposit for federal tax refunds. Include checking or savings account numbers on the federal tax return and save five days and a trip to the bank when receiving a refund, LaPonzina said.


Direct deposit is not available for state tax refunds.

  • Correct fonts for tax returns printed using computers. Taxpayers who buy software to file their returns don't always load the fonts correctly, resulting in some tax returns containing gibberish, Bond said.


Taxpayers with questions about tax returns also might get quicker responses by taking advantage of the technology available, Bond said.

Half of the state's taxpayer correspondence has come in on e-mail so far this year, Bond said.

While the response might not be as quick as it would be over the telephone, it helps the taxpayer avoid busy signals and allows them to send questions or comments 24 hours a day.

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