JEFFERSON CITY — Gov. Mike Parson’s administration is ending the printing of paper income tax forms in a bid to get more Missourians to file their taxes electronically.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Revenue said the maneuver will save the state money and potentially result in people receiving their tax refunds faster in 2021.
“The Department of Revenue constantly strives to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars and as such, has been moving in the direction of going paperless in all facets of our business,” said agency spokeswoman Anne Marie Moy.
Taxpayers will still be able to file paper 1040 returns, but they will have to download and print them from the department website, rather than pick them up at places such as public libraries.
“While we will continue to accept paper tax returns, we have identified significant cost savings and efficiencies associated with encouraging taxpayers to either file electronically or download tax forms from our website,” Moy said. “As we make this shift, we certainly are prepared to offer accommodations to those customers for whom these options are not presently viable.”
There are signs the push to go online-only is showing results.
In the 2018 tax year, an estimated 13.5% of the more than 3 million taxpayers filed on paper. In the 2019 filing period, which coincided with the outbreak of a pandemic and was extended from April to July, about 12% filed on paper.
The decision mirrors the federal Internal Revenue Service, which called for taxpayers to file electronically this year because many of its workers were working remotely because of the coronavirus.
More than 90% of federal taxpayers filed online.
At the beginning of the pandemic, more than 40% of the Department of Revenue’s employees — 474 workers out of the department’s approximately 1,150-member workforce — worked remotely or took leave.
According to the department, individuals who e-file can have their refund deposited directly into their bank account and generally receive their refund faster than those who file using a paper return. In addition, the department has a tracking program that allows customers to enroll in automatic text and email alerts that are sent each time the status of their return is updated.