New free online filing system for Commonwealth taxes

Published: Jan. 18, 2012 at 11:19 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 19, 2012 at 12:43 AM EST
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Tax season is upon us again. This year, officials in Virginia hope a new e-file system will save tax payers time and money. The free file fillable forms are open to just about all Virginia tax payers, regardless of income. You'll need your tax documents and Internet access to get started.

Getting those taxes in the mail on time can be a pain, but now Virginia is paving the way for paperless filing.

"We are the first state in the country to have this service. Many other states will be coming and it's basically modeled after the IRS," said Joel Davison with he Department of Taxation.

Here's how it works: once you log on to the site, you fill in the form the same way you would a PDF computer file.

"The form is very similar to the 760 resident form," explained Davison.

The system will do your math for you as you fill out the form.

"It's really much easier and safer and faster and more convenient for the tax payer and it's cheaper for the state," said Davison.

Officials say the e-forms should save tax payers it two ways: they wont have to pay to file and the state won't have to hire people to sort through all those paper returns.

"People are going to be waiting around a month for a refund from a paper return and a paper check where electronically filed deposit may be 3, 4, 5 days," said Davison.

Experts with the Virginia Society of CPAs say this is a great option for simple returns. Though they warn, it might not be the best option for more complex taxes.

"If you have more complex issues or you're looking for advice, whether that's the built in knowledge that some tax software products provide or you're looking into the knowledge of tapping in to a tax preparer, a licensed tax preparer and their years of knowledge," said Ryan Losi, a local accountant. "Then you may want to look at employing or hiring a tax preparer."

Officials with the Department of Taxation agree, this service is not for unusually complex taxes. Though, for those of you who procrastinate, this electronic filing system should buy you a little more time before that May deadline.

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