News Releases

April 3, 2009

Missouri Department of Revenue Suggests Tips On Filing State Tax Returns Before April 15

With less than two weeks before the April 15 deadline to file individual income tax returns, the Missouri Department of Revenue suggests some tips on filling out state tax returns and reminds taxpayers how to avoid common mistakes when filing.

An estimated 2.8 million taxpayers are expected to file returns by April 15.  About 1.2 million of those returns will come into the Department of Revenue during the three weeks preceding the deadline.

“We know that many people wait until the deadline is near to file their taxes,” said Karen King Mitchell, director of the department.  “As people are preparing their returns, we hope they keep some simple suggestions in mind that will help ensure that their return is processed as efficiently as possible.”

The best option for many taxpayers is to file their returns electronically.  Advantages of this format include proof that the department has received your return, paperwork can’t get lost, it improves accuracy, a trip to the post office is not necessary, and for many people it is an easier format to use.  Electronic returns can also be filed any time of the day or day of the week.  IRS-approved tax preparers can file a return electronically, and there are a variety of computer software packages that citizens can use to file their taxes. A list of IRS-approved tax preparers is available at http://www.irs.gov/efile/page/0,,id=10162,00.html.

There is also an option for people who want to obtain some of the benefits of filing electronically, but choose not to purchase a software program or hire a tax preparer.  They can utilize fill-in forms available on the Department of Revenue website at http://dor.mo.gov/faq/personal/2dbarcode.php.  These forms are filled out on a computer, but are then printed out by the taxpayer and mailed to the department.  These returns include a 2D barcode that speeds up processing and reduces the chance of processing errors.

For taxpayers filling out their own return, it’s important to try to avoid common mistakes that can slow down the processing of a return.  One common mistake is not signing the return.  Another is not including necessary documentation like W-2 forms, interest/dividend statements from financial institutions, the MO-A form if claiming itemized deductions, or a copy of a taxpayer’s federal tax return.

Another thing to double check is entering the correct standard deduction for filing status.  People who are blind, 100 percent disabled or 65 or older are supposed to note their status on the state return because it qualifies them for a larger standard deduction.  Sometimes people will check one box and not check another even if they qualify for more than one category.  Other people sometimes make the mistake of claiming one of these statuses without truly qualifying.

It is also advised that taxpayers not wait until the very last minute to file their returns and expect their local post office to be open to accept their returns.  Post offices have different operating hours, so a local post office might not stay open until midnight on April 15.

Missouri grants an automatic extension of time to file if you filed for a federal extension.  An extension of time to file an income tax return does not extend the time for payment of any taxes that are due. A state extension form and other guidelines on extensions are available at http://dor.mo.gov/forms/MO-60.pdf.

Help for taxpayers is available at the Department of Revenue’s tax website, http://www.dor.mo.gov/personal/ and the Internal Revenue Service website, www.irs.gov.  The Department of Revenue also has seven assistance centers throughout the state that people can visit in person, call or e-mail to get answers to questions.  Contact information for the centers is located below or can be accessed on the Internet at http://dor.mo.gov/contact/assistance.php.  Operating hours for all of the offices through the month of April are 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Individuals with speech or hearing impairments can call TDD (800) 735-2966.