LDR Systems Not Impacted by IRS System Outage

BATON ROUGE –The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is currently experiencing a hardware failure affecting a number of their federal tax processing systems. As a result, several of their systems are not operating at the time, including their modernized e-file system and a number of other related systems.

The Louisiana Department of Revenue’s tax processing systems are not impacted by the system outage that the IRS is currently experiencing. Taxpayers can continue to prepare and file their state tax returns as they normally would. To file their taxes, taxpayers can use commercial tax preparation software or visit Louisiana File Online, the state’s free web portal for individual and business tax filers at www.revenue.louisiana.gov/fileonline.

The department also reminds taxpayers that during this tax season, the agency is implementing enhanced security measures to protect Louisiana citizens against increased occurrences of tax fraud. As a result, it will take additional time to process refunds. The expected refund processing time for returns filed electronically is up to 60 days. For paper returns, taxpayers should expect to wait 12 to 14 weeks.


Louisiana state income tax filing deadline is Wednesday, May 15

BATON ROUGE – The deadline for filing 2012 Louisiana Individual Income Tax returns is Wednesday, May 15.

The Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR) recommends all taxpayers file their returns electronically.  Electronic filing methods include commercially-available tax preparation software, and Louisiana File Online, LDR’s free tax filing web application. Through Louisiana File Online you can file a return, make a payment and upload scanned receipts and other supporting documentation. Visit www.revenue.louisiana.gov/fileonline.

The average refund processing time for electronic returns is ten business days.  For paper returns it is 12 to 16 weeks.

Taxpayers needing more time to prepare their 2012 individual state income tax returns must submit an extension request by the May 15 filing deadline to avoid late-filing penalties.  An extension allows only more time to file a return. It does not allow more time to pay. Visit www.revenue.louisiana.gov/extensions.


Louisiana taxpayers receive more than half-billion dollars in state individual income tax refunds

BATON ROUGE – The Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR) has distributed more than half a billion dollars in individual state income tax refunds to Louisiana taxpayers for the 2011 tax year.

As of Friday, April 20, the total of individual income tax refunds was $534,031,761.11.  The average refund amount was $438.12.

“We’re processing returns faster, getting taxpayers their money back faster, and doing it at less cost to the state than ever before,” said Secretary of Revenue Cynthia Bridges. “This is due, in large part, to the growing use of electronic and online filing.”

To date, LDR has processed more than 1.5 million individual income tax returns that were filed electronically.  This is ten weeks earlier than the same benchmark was reached in 2011.

Electronic filing methods include LDR’s free online filing system, Louisiana File Online, and a variety of commercially available software applications.

Seventy percent of this year’s refunds, $374.6 million, have been distributed via direct deposit.  Direct deposit is available only to taxpayers who file their taxes electronically.  It is the fastest, most secure method of refund distribution.

The next largest amount of refunds went out via the Louisiana MyRefund Card, a pre-paid debit card used to distribute refunds mostly to taxpayers who file paper returns.  Taxpayers have received $134.2 million through the MyRefund Card program.

Taxpayers receiving paper checks have received $25.1 million in refunds for this tax season.


Electronic filing surges past 1 million state income tax returns


BATON ROUGE – The Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR) has received more than 1 million state individual income tax returns filed electronically, the earliest date during any filing season LDR has recorded this benchmark.  As of Thursday, March 15, taxpayers had filed 1,006,770 returns via electronic methods including Louisiana File Online, the state’s free web-based tax filing application and commercially available tax preparation software. This is more than a week earlier than the agency reached this milestone in 2011.

“This suggests growing enthusiasm for electronic filing, which is good news for taxpayers and for the State of Louisiana,” said Secretary of Revenue Cynthia Bridges.  “Electronic filing saves time and money for Louisiana taxpayers and for state government.”

Taxpayers who file electronically receive their refunds in an average of 10 business days.  For paper returns, the processing time is 12 to 16 weeks. 

Also, electronic filing saves state government millions of dollars per year, as the cost of processing paper returns is $1.50 per transaction.

The acceleration of electronic filing represents a steady five-year trend. In 2008, it was April 16 before LDR crossed the one-million threshold:

2011 Returns 1,006,770 3/14/2012
2010 Returns 1,000,951 3/22/2011
2009 Returns 1,001,655 3/30/2010
2008 Returns 1,019,665 4/13/2009
2007 Returns 1,024,679 4/16/2008

 Additional 2011 tax-year filing facts:

  • 95% of 2011 individual income tax returns processed to date were filed electronically
  • Number of refunds issued: 779,508
  • Amount refunded to taxpayers: $307,686,303.76
  • Average amount of refund: $394.72

Visit Louisiana File Online at www.revenue.louisiana.gov/fileonline.


‘Get your tax return quicker’


If you file by paper, the Louisiana Department of Revenue estimates it will take between 12 and 16 weeks to get your return. E-file on the state’s website here, and you could get your return in ten business days, according to Byron Henderson with the Department of Revenue.


Top tip for faster tax refunds: file electronically

BATON ROUGE – The Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR) encourages all taxpayers to file electronically when they submit their 2011 state individual income tax returns.

“Electronic filing is the best way to ensure error-free returns and speedy income tax refunds,” said Secretary of Revenue Cynthia Bridges.

LDR began accepting 2011 Louisiana Individual Income Tax Returns on January 17.  The state filing deadline is May 15.

In addition to electronic filing, a careful review of your tax return can help to avoid unnecessary delays.  Many refunds are delayed because of common errors and omissions. 

Steps to avoid delayed refunds include:

  • File electronically.  The average processing time for refunds is ten business days when using electronic options such as Louisiana File Online, the state’s free tax filing web application.  For paper returns, the processing time is 12 to 16 weeks.  Visit www.revenue.louisiana.gov/fileonline.
  • Double check the accuracy of your return.  Ensure that all Social Security numbers and tax computations are correct.  Math errors and incorrect tax table information are leading causes of delayed refunds.
  • Include all supporting documentation such as W-2s.  Use paperclips, not staples, if filing a paper return.
  • Don’t forget to sign the return.
  • Update your mailing address with the United States Postal Service and the Louisiana Department of Revenue.
  • For paper returns, be sure to attach the proper label to the mailing envelope.

To avoid the potential for late fees and other penalties, taxpayers needing additional time to file must request filing extensions in a timely manner.  This year’s deadline for a state filing extension request is May 15, 2012.  Visit www.revenue.louisiana.gov/extensions.

If a tax payment is due, include the remittance coupon with paper returns to ensure proper posting.  Make checks or money orders payable to the Louisiana Department of Revenue.  Do not send cash. 

Do not include copies of the federal return with the state return.


E-filing surges past 1 million for state tax returns

BATON ROUGE – The Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR) has received more than 1 million individual state income tax returns filed electronically, the department announced Thursday.  It is the earliest point during a tax filing season that electronically filed returns have crossed the 1 million threshold.  By comparison, the state received 1.3 million electronically filed returns in all of 2010.  So far, 90 percent of all returns filed in 2011 were submitted electronically. 

‘This is a new record,” said Secretary of Revenue Cynthia Bridges.  “It tells us that increasing numbers of Louisiana taxpayers appreciate the benefits of electronic filing. 

Taxpayers who file electronic returns receive their refunds more quickly than those who file paper returns.  The average processing time for electronic returns is 10 days.  For paper returns it is 12 to 16 weeks.

For state government, the benefits of electronic filing are significant.  The cost of processing paper returns is $1 per transaction.  This saves the state more than a million dollars a year. 

There are numerous ways to file individual tax returns electronically with the State of Louisiana.  The free web-based tax filing application Louisiana File Online is available on the LDR website at www.revenue.louisiana.gov/fileonline.  Many commercially available tax filing software packages also offer state filing options.


Louisiana File Online: Fast, Easy, Absolutely Free


LDR announces website, toll-free number to answer “Where’s my refund?”

BATON ROUGE – Taxpayers wanting information on the status of their state income tax refund can find it online or by calling a toll-free number the Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR) announced Tuesday.

LDR’s “Where’s My Refund?” website is available at www.revenue.louisiana.gov/refund.  Taxpayers can also call 1-888-829-3071. 

Taxpayers who file their returns electronically with Louisiana File Online (www.fileonline.revenue.louisiana.gov) can expect their refunds within 14 days of filing.  Taxpayers who file paper returns can expect to wait 6-8 weeks.



‘Louisiana tax refunds timely while delays plague other states’

While some cash-strapped states are delaying their residents’ income tax refunds, Louisiana taxpayers are receiving their refunds back at a faster pace than ever.

This report from the New Orleans Times-Picayune explains that Louisiana File Online, LDR’s electronic tax filing application, gets much of the credit.

National media coverage in the past week has reported that some states are delaying tax refund checks to cope with cash-flow problems caused by the recession and declining government revenue. But Louisiana isn’t one of them. “We are not withholding or delaying refunds,” said Byron Henderson, spokesman for the Louisiana Department of Revenue. In fact, the state’s refunds are moving faster than ever, thanks in part to increased use of electronic filing of tax returns. As of Friday, the state had issued 847,739 state tax refunds to individuals and joint filers totaling $426.4 million. That’s $503 per refund on average. About 85 percent of those refunds were for people who filed electronically. For those who file directly using the department’s Louisiana File Online system, the average wait for a refund is nine days. Paper filers will wait an average of six to eight weeks. The volume for electronic filers so far this tax season is as much as 30 percent ahead of last year, Henderson said. The department is expected to process about 2 million tax returns this year. Television and newspaper reports this week have identified Alabama, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, New York and North Carolina as states holding back or considering a delay for refunds. Louisiana state tax returns are due by May 15.