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DC Office of Tax and Revenue Expands Taxpayer Services

Monday, January 10, 2000

DC Office of Tax and Revenue Expands Taxpayer Services

Free DC Tax Preparation; Telefiling; Electronic Filing; Direct Deposit; Credit Card Payment Options

WASHINGTON, DC - By now, most District of Columbia residents have received their 1999 individual income tax booklets. In an effort to build upon last year's filing season successes, such as an 11-day average refund cycle, the Office of Tax and Revenue is offering services to District taxpayers to make filing taxes a more painless process. These customer service initiatives include: free DC tax return preparation; several alternative filing methods, including electronic and telephone filing and the ability to use credit cards to pay taxes; a one-stop Customer Service Center; extended hours; and numerous outreach programs.

"Providing taxpayers with the information and services they need to meet their tax obligations is our number one priority at the Office of Tax and Revenue," says Dr. Natwar M. Gandhi, deputy chief financial officer for Tax and Revenue. "We are a taxpayer-friendly organization and will do everything possible to assist taxpayers through the filing process."

One-Stop Customer Service Center
Last year, the Office of Tax and Revenue moved to a new location - 941 North Capitol Street, NE, just a few blocks from Union Station. This new office houses a state-of-the-art Customer Service Center on the first floor where taxpayers can resolve all individual, real property, and business tax-related issues in one place. Open Monday through Friday from 8:15 am to 4:45 pm, the center has 13 customer service windows, six public access terminals, and four hearing rooms if a taxpayer needs to consult with a customer service representative regarding more complex tax issues. The Center has recently established an express service for land title and mortgage companies.

Free DC Individual Income Tax Return Preparation Services
The Office of Tax and Revenue will prepare District individual income tax returns for free for anyone requesting this service. First, individuals must have prepared their federal tax return before coming to our walk-in Customer Service Center on the first floor at 941 North Capitol Street, NE. Taxpayers are requested to have all of their documentation with them such as a copy of their federal tax return, supporting W-2 forms, and any other information required. 
 
Introducing Telefile to DC Residents: Single, No Dependents, Income less than $100,000
The Office of Tax and Revenue is introducing telefiling, allowing taxpayers to use a touch-tone telephone to file their taxes. The telefile phone number is 1-800-743-3320. To qualify, taxpayers must be single, have no dependents, have income that is less than $100,000, and have been a resident of the District from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31. Conditions that preclude a person from telefililng include, itemized deductions; filing federal business schedules; making estimated payments; having withholdings from any state other than DC; claiming an exemption for being 65 or older or for being legally blind; filing Schedule H or claiming the Low Income Credit; and having had income only from the following sources: wages, salaries, tips (no more than five Form W-2s); taxable scholarship or fellowship grants; interest and dividends ($400 maximum); or unemployment compensation.
 
Electronic Filing/Direct Deposit
The District of Columbia is offering a full Federal/State Electronic Filing (E-File) program for individual income tax returns. There are two ways in which taxpayers can file electronically - through a tax practitioner or through a commercial online filing service, which allows taxpayers to transmit their DC and federal returns electronically from their home PC for a fee. DC taxpayers can access the four participating on-line filing services - Intuit (www.intuit.com), TaxSlayer (www.taxslayer.com), Tax and Accounting Software (www.taascforce.com) and H.D. Vest (www.hdvest.com) - via the Internet. The Quicken Tax Freedom Project (a service by Intuit) will also be offering taxpayers with income less than $20,000 the opportunity to file their DC and federal taxes online for free. The DC E-File program had an error rate of less than one percent last year. The Office of Tax and Revenue is committed to maintaining this level of efficiency as our program expands.

Tips on Electronic Filing:

  • The term "Federal/State" means that the DC return must be transmitted with the federal return to the IRS.
  • Refunds: DC E-File will offer a direct deposit option for taxpayers receiving refunds. The refund will be electronically deposited into the taxpayer's account within two weeks of return receipt. Direct deposit will not be available for paper returns.
  • Payments: DC E-file will offer payment for balance due returns via the D-40 VE payment voucher. If the taxpayer chooses this option, he/she may electronically file the return at any time during the tax season, then mail the voucher and payment in by April 17. E-File taxpayers with balance due returns may also use the new credit card payment option.
  • Paperless process: If you are a tax practitioner who has been accepted into the electronic filing program by the IRS, you no longer need to mail in a copy of your IRS approval to the Office of Tax and Revenue. Additionally, the Office of Tax and Revenue has eliminated the requirement for tax practitioners to mail in DC-8453, the signature document. Practitioners, however, must retain the DC-8453 for a period of three years.
  • Contacting the Office of Tax and Revenue: We invite all eligible practitioners to participate this year. Interested practitioners may obtain E-File forms and publications via the Internet at www.dccfo.com. Practitioners who do not have Internet access or need additional information may contact Sonja Peterson, Electronic Filing Program Coordinator, at (202) 442-6323.

Pay Taxes by Credit Card
In an effort to make paying taxes more convenient, the Office of Tax and Revenue has introduced the use of credit cards to pay individual income taxes owed for the 2000 tax-filing season or for past-due income taxes owed to the District.

Taxpayers will be able to pay their taxes using a Discover/NOVUS, MasterCard, or American Express card. To do this, the taxpayer will be able to call the toll-free number, available seven-days-a-week, 24-hours-a-day, at 1-888-2PAY-TAX, then enter 6000, the District of Columbia's jurisdiction code, and complete the telephone transaction directly with the credit card processing vendor, Official Payments Corporation. The Office of Tax and Revenue will receive the credit card transaction from the vendor and immediately apply it to the taxpayer's account. Official Payments Corporation will charge taxpayers a fee for this service based on a sliding scale. For example, the fee for tax payments under $100 is $3.00; for $1,000, the fee is $25.00.

Problem Resolution Office:
The Problem Resolution Office is designed to assist taxpayers that have been unable to get their problems satisfactorily resolved within a reasonable amount of time. Independent from all compliance functions, the Problem Resolution Officer serves as an advocate for taxpayers within the office of Tax and Revenue by representing their interests and concerns. Examples of cases that the Problem Resolution Officer would consider include: the taxpayer has not received a response or action by the date promised or at least 45 days have passed since the initial inquiry and the taxpayer has not received an acknowledgement or final response. For further information about this program, taxpayers may contact Minnetta Coles, problem resolution officer, at (202) 442-6348.

Office of Tax Appeals
The mission of the Office of Tax Appeals is to provide District taxpayers an opportunity to resolve disputes with audit or collection determinations without litigation through an independent appeals process. Taxpayers that do not agree with an audit or collection determination must submit a written protest. A hearing will then be arranged to discuss the disputed issues. Within 30 days of the conclusion of the hearing, the Office of Tax Appeals will issue a decision either ordering the audit or collection division to grant the relief the taxpayer was seeking or affirming the examination or collection action. To request appeals consideration, write to Ed Blick, acting director of the Office of Tax Appeals, 941 North Capitol Street, NE, 1st Floor, Washington, DC 20002, or call (202) 442-6945.

Tax Fraud Hotline
In December, the Office of Tax and Revenue unveiled a toll-free tax fraud hotline. The public can now anonymously report anything from a person's failure to file taxes, to unreported income, to falsifying information on tax returns, to real property tax fraud, to the sale of Social Security numbers, by calling 1-800-380-3495, or via e-mail at Taxfraudhotline@dcgov.org. All allegations will be kept confidential and will be evaluated for appropriate action by the Office of Tax and Revenue or referred to the DC Office of Inspector General or other appropriate agency.
 
The Voluntary Disclosure Program
The Office of Tax and Revenue also has established a Voluntary Disclosure Program that invites taxpayers who are not in full compliance with the District's tax laws to come forward on their own. If a taxpayer wants to participate in the Voluntary Disclosure Program, he or she must first contact Thomas Kerwin, assistant audit manager, by telephone at (202) 442-6578 or by facsimile at (202) 442-6883. The taxpayer must then file all delinquent returns and pay any taxes due, with interest. The Office of Tax and Revenue will waive civil penalties, which may be up to 25 percent of the amount of taxes owed. It is important to note that the taxpayer must have come forward on his or her own free will - without first having been contacted by the Office of Tax and Revenue or its compliance contractor, MBIA MuniServices Company - to participate in this program.

How to reach the Office of Tax and Revenue
Taxpayers may contact the Customer Service Telephone Information Center at (202) 727-4TAX or visit our walk-in Customer Service Center at 941 North Capitol Street, NE Customer service representatives are available Monday through Friday, except holidays, from 8:15 am until 4:45 pm

Extended telephone information hours during the 2000 tax season:
Monday - Friday, except holidays:
Jan. 31 - Feb. 11, 2000, 8:15 am to 6:00 pm
April 3 - April 14, 2000, 8:15 am to 6:00 pm
April 17, 2000, 8:15 am to 8:00 pm
Hearing impaired individuals may call (202) 442-6460 for assistance.
 
Extended hours for income tax preparation assistance:
April 3 - April 14, 8:15 am to 7:00 pm
April 1, 8, and 15 (Saturdays), 9:30 am to 1:30 pm
April 17, 8:15 am to 8:00 pm

You may obtain DC tax forms at the following locations (January through April):
Municipal Center (6:30 am to 8:00 pm) at 300 Indiana Avenue, NW
Union Square (8:30 am to 4:45 pm) 941 North Capitol Street NE
Recorder of Deeds (8:30 am to 4:30 pm) at 515 D Street NW
Reeves Center (7:00 am to 7:00 pm) 2000 14th Street NW
One Judiciary Square (7:00 am until 7:00 pm) 441 4th Street NW, 1st Floor
Martin Luther King Memorial Library (10:00 am to 5:30 pm) at 901 G Street NW

The Individual D-40 Income Tax booklet is also available at other DC Public Libraries. Please call (202) 727-4TAX if you need DC forms mailed to you or visit our Web site at www.dccfo.com.