March 15, 2004
Tim Connolly
(617) 626-2369

More than one third of all Massachusetts personal income tax returns have been processed and more than 1 million taxpayers already have received refunds averaging $395.

With one month to go before the April 15th deadline, the Department of Revenue is setting records for processing returns. DOR has processed more than 1.2 million returns this tax season. That is a 15 percent increase over the same day last year. Of the total processed, 1.1 million have been electronic returns.

"We are realizing the promise of electronic returns," said Revenue Commissioner Alan LeBovidge. "We've been saying for years that filing tax returns by computer or telephone is more convenient, just as safe as paper and much faster. The taxpayers are getting that message.''

The use of electronic filing methods is up nearly 30 percent over last year at this time. Electronic returns passed the 1 million mark earlier that they ever have before.

Taxpayers who use Telefile, a computer software package or ask their tax preparer to file electronically have been receiving refunds, on average, in 3 days. Taxpayers who prepare their returns on a computer and then print and mail 2-D bar-coded returns have been receiving refunds, on average, in 6.8 days. The average turnaround time for ordinary paper returns has been just over 8 days.

"It's human nature that once you realize you are owed money, you want it right away," LeBovidge said. "We anticipate returning $1 billion to taxpayers this tax season and the fastest way to get your refund is to electronically file your return."

This is the second year that Massachusetts has had a line on its personal income tax return that allows people to pay their use tax for the year. So far 2,285 people have paid $182,470 on purchases made out of state or over the Internet. Such purchases are subject to a 5 percent tax because the merchandise is brought back to Massachusetts for use. Use tax collections are up 67 percent over the same period last year.

"This is an education issue," LeBovidge said. "By including Line 33 on the return we are educating the taxpayer on the need to pay the use tax on items that when bought here would be subject to the state sales tax."