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January 21, 2011

Department of Revenue Releases Top 5 Filing Tips for 2011 & Also Notes New Filing Deadline, Information Format

JEFFERSON CITY - An extended tax return filing deadline and a new format for important tax information highlight changes for Missouri's Tax Season 2011.  The Missouri Department of Revenue also has five general suggestions for filers to have their returns processed quicker and more accurately.

"Most people are just now compiling their tax records and receiving tax information from their employers and financial institutions," said Alana M. Barragán-Scott, director of the Missouri Department of Revenue.  "The Department is eager to help all Missourians know about important changes and to help them get their returns processed efficiently and accurately."

The state's traditional filing deadline of April 15 will be extended three days this year.  The new deadline will be Monday, April 18, to be consistent with the deadline change for filing federal tax returns.

The District of Columbia, where the federal Internal Revenue Service is located, celebrates Emancipation Day on April 16.  Emancipation Day notes the day in 1862 that President Abraham Lincoln freed more than 3,000 slaves in the District.  Since April 16 falls on a Saturday, the public holiday will be observed on Friday, April 15, and the tax deadline for federal returns was extended to the next possible weekday, Monday, April 18.  The Department opted to extend the state tax deadline to April 18 to make the deadlines consistent. 

Another change for 2011 is addressed in the form of a postcard that Missouri taxpayers should have already received or will shortly receive in the mail.  The postcard informs taxpayers of two ways of obtaining their Form 1099-G information.  Citizens can go online and visit www.dor.mo.gov/tax/1099G, or call (573) 526-8299.  With either option, a taxpayer will need to have his or her Social Security number, their home address zip code and the filing status noted on their most recently filed tax return.  (Examples of filing status include single, married filing jointly or separate, and head of household.)  People who go online also have the option of printing their actual 1099-G form. The 1099-G typically reveals state income tax refund information from the previous calendar year that must be included on federal returns if deductions were itemized.  Individuals who took the standard deduction will not receive a postcard and do not need to include the information on their federal return.

For more information about the Form 1099-G and answers to frequently asked questions, visit http://dor.mo.gov/faq/personal/1099g.php.

The Department director noted five basic tips for filing.  For those who have access to a computer, she encourages them to file their tax returns electronically.

"More than 60 percent of Missourians now file electronically, and an even bigger percentage files their federal returns this way," Barragán-Scott said.  "Filing electronically rather than on paper reduces the time it takes to receive and process a return, it reduces the chance of errors being made on the return, refunds can be directly deposited into a taxpayer's bank account, and electronic returns can be submitted any time of the day."

Barragán-Scott also suggested four other tips to help make filing a return easier.

*File as early as possible.  Tax returns filed earlier, including returns requesting a refund, are processed quicker since many people wait until the deadline to file.

*Double check returns to avoid common errors such as not signing the return and math errors.

*Make sure that all relevant forms - such as W-2's, interest statements from banks, investment brokers and other financial institutions - have been received before completing a return.

*Remember that the federal tax return must be finished before the state tax return is completed.

There are several ways to receive tax assistance from the Missouri Department of Revenue. 

Many questions can be answered at the Department's website at www.dor.mo.gov.  Citizens with specific questions about individual income tax returns may call (573) 751-3505 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays or e-mail the Department at income@dor.mo.gov.

The Department also has tax assistance centers located in seven Missouri cities.  The centers are in Cape Girardeau, Jefferson City, Joplin, Kansas City, St. Joseph, St. Louis and Springfield.  Office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.  Citizens who have questions about their tax returns can call or visit the centers, and staff  at the centers can also help prepare returns.  Contact information and office addresses are available at http://dor.mo.gov/contact/assistance.php.

Missouri tax forms for Tax Year 2010 and other years are available on the Department's website at http://dor.mo.gov/forms/.  All the forms and instructions for the forms can be printed on demand directly from the website.  The printing option includes the Department's 2-D barcode forms.  These forms include a 2-D barcode that helps speed up the processing of the forms.

A toll-free, automated phone number to order forms is 1-800-877-6881.  The Department also has a Forms-by-Fax System available by calling (573) 751-4800.  Calls to the Forms-by-Fax System must be made from phone numbers connected to fax service. 


The Missouri Department of Revenue is now on Twitter!  To follow the Department on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/MoRevenue.