Monday, January 12, 2009
Robert R. Bliss
blissr@dor.state.ma.us
617-626-2369

Free, convenient and secure filing program on DOR Web site replaces old Telefile technology

Revenue Commissioner Navjeet K. Bal today announced the Massachusetts Department of Revenue's new WebFile for Income tax filing program is up and running online at www.mass.gov/dor .

"Effective today, most taxpayers who file basic tax returns or who have used the old Telefile system may go to the DOR website and file their income taxes conveniently, securely and at no cost using an online filing program developed by DOR," Bal said. "This service may also be used by some taxpayers who in the past have purchased software packages to file their tax returns."

The decision to create WebFile for Income and to phase out Telefile, which has been in service since 1994, was due to the outdated nature of the Telefile technology and its inability to stay current with changes in Massachusetts tax law, including the new filing requirements for health insurance. At the height of its usage, 429,290 tax returns were filed via Telefile for tax year 1999. Since then the number of returns filed on Telefile has declined to 92,177 last year while 2,074,558 returns were filed electronically out of a total of 3.4 million. Nearly two-thirds of all Massachusetts personal income tax returns are now filed electronically, a percentage that is expected to grow with the introduction of WebFile for Income.

WebFile for Income is expected to minimize the number of mathematical errors since it performs all the calculations required. If a taxpayer is interrupted or short of time while filing on WebFile, the work is saved and retrieved for later completion. WebFile also saves account information and tracks refunds and payments, and help is only a click away.

With Telefile, a taxpayer would have to start all over if interrupted while on the phone or would have to make an additional call to make a correction.

At the completion of a WebFile for Income return, a taxpayer receives a printable receipt to confirm that their information was successfully received by DOR. In addition, taxpayers may log into their accounts at any time to view a printable summary or view detail of the tax data submitted to DOR. Taxpayers who are required to make payments are provided with a secure payment option and have the ability to file now and pay later, up to the tax deadline of April 15th, by scheduling an electronic payment. For a faster refund, money can be wired straight to a taxpayer's bank account.

The new system is available to taxpayers whose internet access may be at a public location such as a library. To use WebFile for Income, a taxpayer must have been a resident of Massachusetts for all of tax year 2008. The new program does not include all tax schedules. Taxpayers are encouraged to log onto the application to check their eligibility via the very first screen that will pop up. To check eligibility, go to <u>https://wfb.dor.state.ma.us/income/Default.aspx</u> .

DOR expects to include many if not all of these schedules, including the Senior Circuit Breaker Tax Credit, on WebFile for Income next year.

The Senior Circuit Breaker Tax Credit delivers a maximum tax credit of $930 to those 65 and older who are eligible, even if the taxpayer does not earn enough to owe or pay taxes. It is designed to serve as an offset to local property taxes when those taxes exceed 10 percent of income for those who own their homes, or if 25 percent of rental payments exceed 10 percent of income. For this tax year, the income limit is $49,000 for a single filer, $62,000 for a head of household and $74,000 for married filing jointly, with the value of a home not to exceed $793,000.