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Taxpayers can use credit card this year

February 16, 2001

Taxpayers can use credit card this year



By DAN KULIN / Staff Writer


Taxpayers have more Internet options this year and, in Maryland, can now use a credit card to pay any taxes due, representatives from the Maryland Comptroller's Office and the Internal Revenue Service said.

Tax officials were in Hagerstown Thursday promoting online tax filing, talking about what's new this tax season and warning of common mistakes on tax returns.

Federal and state tax returns are due at the post office by midnight Monday, April 16.

Comptroller's Office spokesman Michael Golden said that for the first time Marylanders can pay their state taxes with a credit card, a service that already had been available for federal taxes.

Credit cards accepted are Master Card, American Express and Discover, Golden said. Those interested in paying with a credit card should call 1-800-2PAYTAX.

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Golden and IRS spokesman Sam Serio promoted online tax filing, which they said is easier and faster for most people.

Serio said that this year the IRS has made an additional 23 tax forms available over the Internet through the IRS Web site at www.irs.gov.

Internet tax filing is 100 percent electronic this year, he said. In previous years those filing their federal tax returns electronically still had to send the IRS their signature, a step no longer required, Serio said.

Taxpayers filing Maryland tax forms 503 and 123 can complete those forms over the Internet at www.marylandtaxes.com.

Those filing form 503 are typically those who do not itemize their deductions.

Form 123 is used largely by high school and college students to claim refunds of state and local income taxes withheld when their income levels are below the amount requiring them to file.

Some tax changes this year include:

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> On federal tax forms there is now a box near the signature line, and checking that box authorizes the IRS to speak directly with ones' tax preparer.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> The federal student loan interest deduction is up to $2,000 from $1,500 last year.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Maryland taxes offer a new tax credit for child and dependent care expenses.

"There are not a lot of changes. That is the good news" Serio said.

Serio said mistakes on tax forms can often cause delays in processing tax returns.

Common errors include:

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Entering the wrong Social Security number. Serio said the name and Social Security number on the tax form must match the name and number on the filer's Social Security card.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Math errors, such as putting information on the wrong lines in a tax form.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Confusion over the Earned Income Tax Credit. Serio said some taxpayers claim the credit even though they don't qualify, and others who do qualify for the credit don't claim it.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> Forgetting to sign the tax form, or forgetting to have a spouse sign the tax form if filing jointly.

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