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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Stephanie McFarland, APR
(317) 234-3793

State Tax Season Progressed without Incidents, Set New Records

Indianapolis (April 29, 2010) – Each year from January through April, the Indiana Department of Revenue receives and processes more than 2 million tax returns, handles hundreds of thousands of taxpayer calls, and issues more than 1.5 million refunds on average. This year the revenue agency set some new records, compared to previous years.

“One area I’m pleased with is our customer service,” said Revenue Commissioner John Eckart. “Though I know our phone lines get full during tax season and some callers have difficulty getting through during the month of April when we have the biggest crunch of the year, we still improved our service from last year in terms of serving more taxpayers, and serving them more quickly.”

This year the Department of Revenue handled more than 140,000 phone calls during the tax season, compared with 114,000 for the same time period last year. Yet the agency’s hold times went down from just over four minutes on average in 2009 to less than three minutes on average this year. “In the month of April, the agency’s biggest crunch time, we’ve handled more than 17,000 phone calls,” said Eckart. “That is an average of 1,100 calls a day, compared to about 500 per day in our off-season.”

In addition, deflected calls, those callers not able to get through the first time, were down 42 percent this year, compared with the 2009 tax season. “We were able to achieve these service results with the use of smarter technology, Hoosiers using the Department’s many self-serve tools, and a can-do attitude from the customer-service staff,” said Eckart.

Refunds issued in larger numbers
A higher number of taxpayers also received refunds this year compared to last year. The Department of Revenue issued more than 1.6 million refunds in 2010, compared with about 1.5 million in 2009. The average refund this year was $324, compared with $279 in 2009. Refunds directly deposited into taxpayers’ accounts from returns filed electronically were issued in an average of three days, compared with paper filers – who generally must wait six to 12 weeks to receive their refunds due to the longer processing time necessary for paper returns.

Electronic filing up – again
For the fourth year in a row, more Hoosiers became electronic filers of their state tax returns. As of April 16, nearly 86 percent of all state filings were done either through the state’s I-File program, or the federal e-File program. I-File usage alone increased 22 percent over last year, and all types of electronic filing increased by 4 percent over 2009. Electronic filing in Indiana has increased by nearly 20 percent in the past four years.

“Electronic filing is the most efficient and effective way for Hoosiers to file,” said Eckart. “Returns filed electronically are 99 percent accurate, compared with paper returns, of which more than 20 percent have errors. And those errors can result in penalty, interest and possibly an audit.”

It costs the state of Indiana approximately $2.3 million to process about 1 million paper returns, compared with only about $150,000 operationally to process more than 2 million electronic returns.

Total returns filed to date
Though the Department gets its largest deluge of mailed paper returns after April 15, about 700,000 annually, it did process more than 2.2 million returns in total by the 2010 tax deadline, compared with 2.1 million processed by the same time last year. By the end of the full calendar year, the Department will process an anticipated 3.1 million returns in total.

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Contact: Stephanie McFarland, APR (317) 234-3793 - office