SOUTH CAROLINA DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE
Public Affairs Office
Contact: Danny Brazell
Phone: (803) 898-5464
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Feb. 1, 2005
Revenue Department Recommends Filing Early, Filing Electronically
For many years the general tax filing rule has been to file early for a quick refund. And the new companion rule is to file electronically for a quicker refund. Last year, more than 47% percent of South Carolina's taxpayers filed their state return electronically and received their tax refund in about two weeks.
Filing early, especially if you file a paper return, can help you receive a refund more quickly by avoiding the tax season deadline rush. Filing electronically, no matter when you file, can also reduce by about six to eight weeks the time if takes to receive a refund. That's because the filing information goes directly into Department of Revenue computers, dramatically speeding up the processing time.
More than 978,000 taxpayers filed electronically last year, or 47% of the total returns filed. With the interest in electronic filing increasing each year, the Department believes more than half of the returns received this year will be filed electronically.
There are three ways to file electronically in South Carolina: Taxpayers can have a professional tax preparer file electronically for them; they can use available commercial software to file at their computer; or they can file their state return only using the SCnetFile icon at the Department of Revenue Web site, www.sctax.org.
If you owe taxes, you may opt to have the Department of Revenue withdraw money from your bank checking or savings account at a time selected by you. The option is called Electronic Funds Withdrawal (EFW).
While filing electronically insures a quicker refund, it also is a money-saver
for the state. Because of the number of people filing electronically, the Department has been able to reduce the number of seasonal workers employed each year to help process tax returns. Filing electronically also cuts down on printing costs and costs related to storing paper returns.
In 1991, South Carolina became the first state to offer its taxpayers joint federal and state electronic filing. For more than 10 years after pioneering electronic filing, South Carolina led the nation in the percentage of taxpayers who chose to file by computer and has remained one of the top two or three states in that category ever since.
For several years the Department of Revenue has extended the tax filing deadline to encourage South Carolinians to file electronically. This year the tax deadline is May 2 for those who file electronically. The deadline applies even if you owe taxes. (It is important to note, however, that the extended deadline applies only to electronic filers and does not apply to federal returns. The federal tax deadline remains April 15.)