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Accounting Professor Offers 2011 Tax Tips

A University of Maine professor of accounting advises that taxpayers beginning to think about filing tax returns for 2011 should consider electronic filing. Professor Steven Colburn of the Maine Business School, who oversees the university’s longstanding taxpayer assistance program with student volunteers, is available to discuss tips for filers.

Filing electronically with direct deposit of refunds offers a number of benefits, Colburn says. It results in fewer errors on tax returns because filing software automatically checks for missing information and compares information reported for consistency. It also performs all calculations and transfers numbers from one form to another, as appropriate. In addition, the Internal Revenue Services receives tax returns in a matter of seconds, as opposed to days, and filers get refunds quicker with direct deposit into savings or checking accounts.

The IRS reports that nearly 80 percent of individuals filed their tax returns electronically last year.

“To make filing a little easier and hopefully less painful,” Colburn says, “the IRS website provides links to free e-filing sites, tax forms, publications and information on most tax questions. Publication 17 is particularly helpful.”

IRS forms and booklets also are available at IRS offices and the state provides free e-filing and tax forms on its website. The filing deadline is April 17 this year.

Contact: Steve Colburn, (207) 581-1982

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