Associate April 15 with frantically finishing your long-received federal and state forms, then racing to the post office alongside other late-night filers?
Those were the good old days.
Procrastinating Vermonters may find today more taxing than ever as technology eliminates traditional paper forms and extended mailing hours.
“As people are getting used to filing online, they’re starting to realize it makes it very easy,” state Tax Commissioner Mary Peterson says.
Nationally, more than 90 percent of federal returns filed so far this year have been sent electronically, the Internal Revenue Service reports.
Vermont, for its part, notes taxpayers used less than one third of paperwork distributed in bulk last year, with the vast majority instead filing electronically or with forms printed off the state’s website.
As a result, the government has stopped mass distribution in the mail and through public service agencies, saving the state $18,000 in printing this year alone.
“The e-filed returns are much easier and cheaper for us to process, they are less likely to have errors and they’ll get their refund quicker,” Peterson says.
As for people who don’t have access to computers?
“We would encourage them to contact their library, AARP or United Way,” Peterson says.
The state already has received an estimated 64 percent of expected returns.
“One pattern that breaks out very clearly is people who are getting refunds tend to file earlier and people who have to pay tend to file later,” Peterson says.
Last-minute filers shouldn’t expect Vermont post offices to stay up late.
“We are not extending hours at any locations — we just haven’t had a need,” said an employee who asked not to be identified. “A lot of our customers now are filing online.”
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