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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
23 September 2008
Tax Return Preparers to File Returns Electronically Beginning January 1, 2009
New law allows SC DOR to mandate electronic filing for tax preparers preparing 100 or more returns
Columbia, SC…Beginning January 1, 2009 The South Carolina Department of Revenue (SC DOR) will require all tax return preparers who are responsible for preparing 100 or more returns that are the same tax type and prepared for the same tax period to file electronically.
Legislation passed under Section 12-54-250 of the SC Code of Laws allows SC DOR to mandate such filing. According to the law, the tax return preparer is defined to mean the business entity and not the individual location or individual person completing the return.
Preparers should note that if electronic means are not available to file returns, but 2D barcode is available, the preparer should use the 2D barcode instead. Legislation suggests that if a taxpayer wishes to have their return filed by another means other than electronically, then the preparer may do just that. SC DOR recommends preparers obtain signed statements for this situation and maintain the statements with their records.
If compliance with this statute is a substantial financial hardship, a tax return preparer may apply in writing to the department to be exempted from these requirements. The department may grant an exemption for no more than one year at a time.
While the bill's initial effective date was for the 2007 tax year, South Carolina legislators delayed the date for imposing penalties under this section effective for tax returns to be filed after December 31, 2008. While voluntary compliance is rarely an issue, SC DOR is asking practitioners to both take note of the statute and steps to become compliant.
For additional information, frequently asked questions and answers and the preparer mandate memo please visit SC DOR's web site, www.sctax.org, and scroll to "What's New."