By State Representative, Leon D. Young
It’s that season once again. No, I’m not talking about the annual cold and flu onset, but rather the tax season. The Wisconsin Department of Revenue (DOR) officially launched the start of the 2011 individual income tax season last week.
DOR’s new Secretary, Richard G. Chandler, has expressed a real desire to make this tax season ‘as easy as possible’ for Wisconsin taxpayers. He has also put forth the following suggestions:
- We are encouraging people to electronically file their returns. DOR expects about three million tax returns this year and more than 75 percent of those will be e-filed, making Wisconsin a national leader in e-filing.
- E-filing from DOR’s secure, confidential website is free, secure and accurate. E-filing programs do the math based upon the information the person enters on each line of the tax form, and consumers can get their refund direct deposited into their account in just days. Wisconsin e-file is available 24/7 at revenue.wi.gov.
- There is a filing deadline change this year. The deadline to file 2010 income tax returns is April 18, 2011. Although April 15th is the usual filing deadline, taxpayers will have three extra days to file and pay any tax due because the District of Columbia ’s Emancipation Day falls on April 15th. By law, District of Columbia holidays impact tax deadlines the same way as federal holidays.
- The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) processing delay does not impact DOR’s ability to accept Wisconsin tax returns.For your background, the IRS is not accepting income tax returns itemizing deductions (with Schedule A) until February 14,2011. The IRS needs additional time to update its systems to reflect recent federal law changes. The consumer’s e-file provider will attach a copy of the federal tax return to the Wisconsin return, and DOR will process it as normal.
- If a constituent needs help in preparing their taxes, they can call 211 to find Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) or Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) site in their area. VITA/TCE sites help low-to-moderate income residents, seniors, veterans, and people with disabilities prepare their tax returns for free. In addition, DOR has a variety of helpful videos on its website at revenue.wi.gov.
We have both instructional and informational videos online to assist consumers with their tax filing questions.
This information and helpful hints are intended to lessen some of the stress and anxiety normally associated with filing your taxes. I encourage you to E-file your return, in order to get your refund faster. And, most importantly, don’t wait to the last minute (April 18th deadline) to file!