Electronic filing said solution to waiting

March 31, 1997


Staff Writer

If you're expecting a Maryland state income tax refund but haven't filed a return yet, you can cut as much as four weeks from your wait by filing electronically, state tax officials said Monday.

With just over two weeks left before the April 15 filing deadline, about 800,000 Maryland taxpayers - or 38 percent - haven't filed a state tax return, Maryland Assistant State Comptroller Marvin A. Bond said.

At least 300,000 of them are due refunds averaging $479, he said.

Asking a professional tax preparer to file your taxes electronically usually won't cost you an additional fee, and it can get a refund check in your hands faster than the traditional way, Bond said.


Refund checks will be printed between 24 to 48 hours after receipt of a valid electronic return - even on April 15, he said.

If you file on paper, your form has to wait for processing along with a mountain of other forms, he said.

"It may well be worth it to pay a preparer a modest fee to file it electronically," said Bond. He said electronic filing is restricted to state-approved preparers for security reasons.

Washington County - which generally has a high percentage of sizable refunds - is a little ahead of the state rate in filing so far, said state comptroller's office spokeswoman Alicia Moran.

Of the 54,101 state tax returns filed by Washington County taxpayers last year, 40,520 requested a refund, Moran said.

It also allows the taxpayer to be sure his or her return is being processed, since the preparer is notified that the return was received and passed an initial screening, he said.

For those who are preparing their own Maryland tax forms, the comptroller's office will offer Saturday hours for the next two weekends, Bond said.

Phone and walk-in help will be available from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and April 12 at the Hagerstown service office in the Professional Arts Building at One S. Potomac St., he said. Call 791-4776 or 1-800-638-2937.

A one-page Tax Procrastinator's Guide to both federal and state tax help and tips for last-minute filers can be accessed through the State Comptroller's officer Web site (

Tax forms can be downloaded at the site, he said. Questions can be e-mailed to (

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