FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, March 16, 2004

GOVERNOR HALEY BARBOUR HIGHLIGHTS
FREE ONLINE TAX PREPARATION FOR MILITARY AND OTHERS

Event at National Guard Headquarters promotes state and federal “Free File Alliances” which benefit active-duty military, lower-income, seniors, and first-time filers

(Jackson, Miss.) – Governor Haley Barbour today announced that the state of Mississippi has entered into an agreement with private sector companies to provide free state tax preparation and e-filing services to Mississippi taxpayers who in calendar year 2003 were: active-duty military (including National Guard and reservists); lower-income (including taxpayers eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit); senior citizens 62 and over; and students and first-time filers 22 and younger.

The agreement – called the Mississippi Free File Alliance – closely tracks the federal Free File Alliance, a public-private partnership between the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and a consortium of tax preparation software companies that makes federal tax services available for free. Governor Barbour was joined by Jim Ruda with the Intuit Financial Freedom Foundation, and David Macklin, a representative from the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA), which sponsored the event.

“The Free File Alliance makes it possible for thousands of hard-working Mississippi taxpayers to prepare and file both their state and federal taxes online for free,” said Governor Barbour. “The services that are available through the Alliance will make it easier for taxpayers to claim all the credits and deductions for which they are entitled. And if they file electronically and use direct deposit, they can receive their state refund in as little as seven to ten days.”

Today’s press conference was held at the headquarters of the Mississippi National Guard to help underscore that these services are available free of charge to all active duty military personnel – including National Guard Reservists. “My heartfelt thanks goes out to the men and women in uniform and their families. Your state, your communities, and your country deeply appreciate the risks you take,” Governor Barbour said.

“Taxpayers using this free service do not need to own a computer. They can use computer terminals in their local public library, or other places that offer public access to the Internet,” Governor Barbour recommended. The Alliance can be found at www.mstc.state.ms.us and clicking on “PC Online Filing” link.


Both the federal and Oklahoma Free File Alliances allow taxpayers to choose from multiple private sector offerings and then are directed to a private company’s website, where they can use the free service to prepare and file their returns electronically.

To illustrate the value of the state’s free file agreement announced today, Governor Barbour spotlighted the free services available from Intuit. As part of its affiliation with the Mississippi and federal Alliances, Intuit donates its TurboTax® for the WebSM service through the Intuit Tax Freedom Project. The Tax Freedom Project, which can be found online at www.mstc.state.ms.us, www.irs.gov or www.taxfreedom.com, provides free online tax preparation and e-filing services for both federal and state returns to eligible Mississippi taxpayers.

“Intuit was very pleased to join the federal Free File Alliance last year and to be an inaugural member of the Mississippi Free File Alliance. Our participation in these Alliances strengthens the commitment we began in 1998 of providing free online tax preparation and electronic filing to underserved taxpayers. And this year, we are especially pleased to include active-duty military in our free offering,” added Intuit’s Jim Ruda.

“The Free File Alliance removes barriers to underserved taxpayers so that they too can take advantage of these high quality online tax preparation services. The state and federal Free File Alliances are model public-private partnerships that allow both government and industry to do what they do best: the government provides quality citizen service to taxpayers while allowing the private sector to innovate, all at virtually no cost to the state or federal government,” finished David Macklin, who spoke on behalf of CCIA.

 


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Governor Haley Barbour
P.O. Box 139 Jackson, MS 39205
Phone: 601.359.3150 Fax: 601.359.3741
         

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