State May Close Electronic Tax Filing System

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(Host) Governor Howard Dean says the state may have to discontinue its own electronic income tax program, if bugs in the system can’t be worked out by the end of next week.

VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports.

(Kinzel) After the Vermont Tax Department encountered serious processing problems last year, Governor Howard Dean urged Vermonters to consider filing their income taxes using the state’s electronic system. But now there’s a problem with the software for this program and the Tax Department has had to indefinitely suspend this operation.

Speaking at his weekly Statehouse press conference, Dean told reporters that the Tax Department is working with the national vendor who installed the programs. But if these problems are not fixed in the near future, it is very likely that the Governor will recommend shutting down the state’s electronic software program for the rest of the year:

(Dean) “I’m not confident¿ . I don’t know if it is going to be fixed or not. Next week, if they haven’t fixed it, we’re going to have to have a meeting to decide whether to pull the plug on the whole thing or not.”

(Kinzel) Administration Secretary Kathy Hoyt says it is better to take the time now to try to work out these software problems than it is to have a system that doesn’t work properly:

(Hoyt) “But I have to tell you, the more things you put up that you don’t have the bugs out of the system, more inconvenience for Vermonters. And I think it’s worth taking a deep breath and making sure that bugs are out of the system before it goes on line.”

(Kinzel) If the state’s electronic software system is closed down, Hoyt says it will still be possible for taxpayers to file electronically with the state. Electronic filers will need to use other commercial software programs that are designed for this purpose.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.

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