ST. PAUL, Minn., April 13 /PRNewswire/ -- With only days to go before the tax deadline, nearly 28 percent of Minnesotans have not yet filed their 2006 income tax return. If you're one of the procrastinators, you have a little more time than usual. The due date to file 2006 individual income tax returns is midnight Tuesday, April 17. The deadline is later this year because April 15 falls on a Sunday and Monday is Emancipation Day, a legal holiday in Washington, D.C. If you have not yet filed, and you're looking for a free or low-cost option to file the quick way, the Minnesota Department of Revenue's Web site features several options for electronically preparing and filing your return. Many taxpayers will qualify for free electronic filing. Each vendor's requirements are slightly different, but in general, people who meet any of these requirements for 2006 can e-file for free: -- Those who have qualified for the federal Earned Income Tax Credit or have an adjusted gross income was $28,500 or less. -- Active-duty members of the military with adjusted gross incomes of less than $52,000. -- Age 25 or younger with adjusted gross incomes of less than $52,000. -- Age 65 or older with adjusted gross incomes of less than $52,000. You must go to the Department of Revenue's Web site at http://www.taxes.state.mn.us to ensure that you get the free option from one of these software providers for both federal and Minnesota returns. If you don't qualify for free e-filing, there are options as low as $7.95. The Revenue Department's Web site also provides links to software providers that can prepare and transmit both federal and Minnesota returns. You can also e-file by buying tax preparation software for your computer and transmitting the returns via your internet service, or by asking your tax preparer to e-file for you. Electronic filing is up 10 percent over the same period last year, but the Department of Revenue is gearing up for expected peaks in both electronic and paper-filed returns when as many as 300,000 returns are expected during the next few days. E-file benefits Faster refunds. So far this year, the state has received 1.4 million e- filed returns, and nearly all -- 97 percent -- took only five days to process. Taxpayers who chose direct deposit received their refunds even sooner. Paper returns filed after April 1 generally take more than 30 days. Homeowners and renters taking advantage of electronic filing for their property tax refunds will also be eligible to receive those refunds up to one month earlier. Easy and accurate. Most software programs ask questions and use your answers to fill in the return so you don't have to deal with completing the forms. You enter the information from your tax documents, and it does the preparing and the calculating for you, taking the worry out of doing the math on your own. File now and pay later if you owe. If you owe tax, you can e-file today and set the payment date for any time on or before April 17. You can electronically pay your tax -- a quick, paperless transaction. Reduce the cost of government. E-filed returns cost the government about two-thirds the cost of a paper return. Filing statistics The Minnesota Department of Revenue: -- expects about 2.5 million income tax returns this year, and has received about 1.8 million so far, -- has a goal of 1.75 million (70 percent) returns being e-filed this year, -- has seen a 9 percent increase over the same time last year in the percentage of taxpayers who filed their own return online, -- received about 65.5 percent of returns electronically last year, which made Minnesota one of the best in the nation for the percentage of population that e-filed, -- has seen tremendous growth in e-filing. The department received fewer than 3,200 e-filed returns in 1990, the first year it was available, and about 472,000 in 1998. Last year, 1.7 million returns were electronically filed. Filing requirements You must file a Minnesota income tax return if you are a Minnesota resident and you are required to file a federal income tax return. If you are a part-year resident or nonresident of Minnesota, you must file if your Minnesota gross income was $8,450 or more. Your 2006 Minnesota return must be electronically filed, postmarked by, or brought to the Department of Revenue no later than April 17, 2007. Resources http://www.taxes.state.mn.us -- You'll find fact sheets, forms, contact information, answers to frequently asked questions and a link to Spanish income tax instructions and income tax fact sheets. Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites -- For free assistance throughout the state for elderly, disabled and low-income taxpayers, go to the Minnesota Department of Revenue's Web site at http://www.taxes.state.mn.us or call 651-297-3724 to find a VITA site near you. The Revenue Department's taxpayer assistance line -- Call 651-296-3781 or 1-800-652-9094 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Fridays. Forms -- If you're not e-filing your return and you need forms, download them from the department's Web site at http://www.taxes.state.mn.us . Libraries (or the post office if your community has no library) also provide them, or you can order through the department's automated phone system at 651-296-4444 or 1-800-657-3676. Forms ordered through this system generally take about five days to arrive, so the department encourages you to download them from its Web site for faster results -- or better yet, e-file.
SOURCE Minnesota Department of Revenue