Virginia to end free online tax-filing service

By Evrod Cassimy - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - At the Virginia Department of Taxation, employees are working quickly, processing the hundreds of thousands of tax returns that have been mailed in. The quicker route is to file electronically, but that could soon cost you a fee.

"The governor on Sunday signed HB, House Bill 1349 which means starting next year will be a part of what's called the free file alliance," said Joel Davison with the Virginia Department of Taxation.

That means when you log on to the state's website to file your taxes electronically, you'll be given a list of private companies that can help. Those companies can charge you anywhere from $10 to $37.

"It's just another fee. It's another way the state's going to pay revenue from the people who work," Mark Lackey said.

"I've already paid for the services and I think from a cost perspective, electronic is where we're going and so I don't understand why we'd have to pay for that," said Seung Park.

Under this new system if you make under a certain amount you would still be eligible to file for free electronically. The free file alliance has determined that number to be $57,000 this year.

"We as a tax department have to do what's called a physical impact statement and in that physical impact statement we said that it will impact about 90,000 Virginians who based on their income this year will have to pay to file their taxes next year," Davison said.

This year about 300,000 Virginians are expected to e-file. The only way to avoid this new fee is to file your state taxes on paper. Paper filing however takes longer to process which means weeks as opposed to days before you'll see your refund.

The Department of Taxation fiscal impact statement show e-filing costs the state almost $50,000 to maintain. The fee goes into effect next year and will not affect those who are e-filing this year.

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