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Comptroller's Office says taxpayers are filing early

March 27, 2004|by WANDA T. WILLIAMS

wandaw@herald-mail.com

The April 15 tax deadline is less than three weeks away and Maryland taxpayers aren't dragging their feet when filing taxes so far, Maryland Comptroller's Office spokeswoman Christine M. Duray said this week.

"We have processed 1 million state returns," said Duray, who noted that 711,901 returns had been filed electronically.

People are discovering how quickly they can get their refunds when they file electronically and that is continuing to boost the numbers, she said. Last year, 880,000 state taxes were processed electronically.

In Washington County, 23,173 taxpayers have filed electronically as of Friday, a 10 percent increase over 2003.

The Internal Revenue Service also has seen an increase in the number of Maryland tax returns filed electronically.

"There's been a 20 percent increase in electronic tax filing, and we expect 2.8 million returns for the state of Maryland and roughly 132 million nationwide," IRS spokesman Jim Dupree said.

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He said average tax return refund amounts have increased to $2,151, compared with $2,089 in 2003.

Dupree and Duray visited Western Maryland Tuesday to remind taxpayers in Washington and Frederick counties that the deadline is right around the corner and help is available.

"Waiting until the last minute means a filer could miss certain benefits or make costly mistakes," Dupree said.

As of this week, 30,000 Washington County residents had not filed their state tax returns.

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