Pennsylvania Department of Revenue Introduces PA Free File, Opens Personal Income Tax Season in Coming Days
Taxpayers Encouraged to Visit PAFreeFile.com before Filing Federal Returns
HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 16, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue today announced that PA Free File, which offers free, safe and convenient Internet-based, electronic filing options, will be available this year for qualifying taxpayers to file state and federal personal income tax returns simultaneously.
PA Free File consists of software and fillable forms, both of which will be available for free at www.pafreefile.com.
"Never before have Pennsylvania taxpayers had the option to file both federal and state returns together for free," said Secretary of Revenue Dan Meuser. "Now the majority of Pennsylvania filers will have access to professional tax filing software at no cost to qualifying taxpayers or the commonwealth."
To qualify for the free software, which will be available starting Jan. 17, filers must have federal adjusted gross income of $58,000 or less. The software is available through reputable vendors approved to prepare state and federal filings. Free offers vary by vendor, and details of each free offer and a link to each vendor's free filing product will be available at www.pafreefile.com.
For those who don't qualify for software, starting on Jan. 31, PA Free File will offer fillable forms, which are online versions of tax forms designed for people who prefer to prepare their own returns. Fillable forms can be submitted electronically or printed and mailed to the department.
For filers who want to get a jump start on their taxes, PA Free File tax software will be available starting Jan. 17. However, refund processing will not begin until Jan. 31, when the Internal Revenue Service and the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue begin accepting electronic submissions.
To help taxpayers navigate the new e-filing options, the department has developed an Internet-based interactive tool available at www.pafreefile.com. Based on a taxpayer's answers to a few simple questions, this tool will help determine for which e-file options each taxpayer qualifies.
E-filing offers advantages not available to taxpayers filing by paper, including error-reducing automatic calculators, instant confirmation of successful filing, faster refund processing and direct deposit options. E-filing is also more cost-effective for the department, as electronically filed returns are less expensive to process and don't require department printing or mailing.
The Department of Revenue urges tax filers to visit www.pafreefile.com before filing federal taxes to determine what Free File options they qualify for.
Other Filing Options
Padirectfile, a state-only filing system, will be available starting Feb. 3 to file 2013 income tax returns, but this system will be not be available next year. TeleFile, another state-only filing system, has been discontinued.
The Department of Revenue expects to save about $500,000 by no longer printing and mailing TeleFile books, and by eliminating contract costs to maintain the state-only filing systems.
Many paid tax preparers and software providers that offer e-filing for a fee are currently preparing returns, although these returns will also be held by preparers until state and federal tax processing systems open Jan. 31.
Free tax forms and instructions will be available at www.revenue.state.pa.us on Jan. 31. The department will not automatically print or mail traditional PA-40 personal income tax books this year, saving an additional $194,000. The department will make available, upon request, the PA-40IN Instruction Booklet and pre-printed forms to those who call 1-800-362-2050.
Taxpayer Service and Assistance
Personal income tax help is available through the department's Online Customer Service Center at www.revenue.state.pa.us and by calling 717-787-8201 between 7:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Taxpayers with annual incomes of $35,000 or less may also visit a Revenue district office, listed in the government pages of local phone directories, for basic state personal income tax filing help. Help at district offices is available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, and taxpayers are encouraged to bring their Social Security cards with them to facilitate tax filing.
All taxpayers who received more than $33 in total gross taxable income in 2013 must file Pennsylvania personal income tax returns by midnight, Tuesday, April 15.
Media contact: Elizabeth Brassell, 717-787-6960
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Revenue