Georgia and South Carolina set new records this year for the number of income tax returns filed electronically with the Internal Revenue Service, the federal agency’s regional office announced this week.
Georgia taxpayers filed 3.5 million 2013 returns electronically with the IRS this year, up from 2.9 million in 2012, while South Carolina filed 1.7 million 2013 returns electronically, up from 1.4 million.
Mark Green, spokesman for the IRS’s regional office in Atlanta, said the new records blew him away, particularly because the federal agency got a late start to the tax season and lost several business days to ice, snow and the partial government shutdown last October.
“This is huge,” said Green, one of the two coordinators who first initiated Georgia’s e-file program with the IRS in 1989. “I have seen it start with 300 electronic returns, which we thought was amazing, up until today, with taxpayers filing millions of returns online.”
Green said the numbers could climb even higher for electronic returns in Georgia and South Carolina, as the IRS continue to count online filings.
He said both Georgia and South Carolina are each within 100,000 electronic returns of meeting its respective goals of 3.6 million and 1.8 million online returns filed. Combined with paper returns, Georgia and South Carolina taxpayers are expected to file 4.1 and 2 million returns, respectively.
“We have exceeded our goal for the simple fact that electronic returns are becoming more popular,” Green said. “It’s incredible how much the program has grown.”
Green estimates 250,000 taxpayers in Georgia and 50,000 in South Carolina will ask for extensions this year. Those who did not file an extension on April 15 could face a failure-to-file and a failure-to-pay penalty.
The failure-to-file penalty for late returns is 5 percent of the unpaid taxes each month a return is late. For taxes filed more than 60 days after the due date, the minimum penalty is $135 or 100 percent of the unpaid taxes. The failure-to-file penalty can’t exceed 25 percent of your unpaid taxes.
The failure-to-pay penalty is assessed each month taxes aren’t paid and is ½ to 1 percent of the unpaid taxes each month the balance due remains. The maximum failure-to-pay penalty is 25 percent of unpaid taxes.
If a taxpayer is subject to both the failure-to-file and failure-to-pay penalties in any month, they will be assessed no more than the total failure-to-file penalty for that month.