- Associated Press - Friday, February 19, 2016

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - Tucked within most of the tax bills Gov. Bill Walker submitted to lawmakers this session is a provision that would require Alaskans who pay taxes to e-file, or face a fine.

Paper returns would be assessed a penalty of $25, or 1 percent of the total taxes paid, whichever is greater. It would cover everything that must be paid to the state, from alcohol to fishing taxes.

The proposal is a move to keep the Department of Revenue from being inundated with paper.

“Corporate income tax returns are big. They’re attached to federal income tax returns. They have schedules and support documents. Sometimes they’re 200 to 300 pages long, and they come in the mail,” said Ken Alper, director of the Department of Revenue’s Tax Division. “We have a staff of five to six people whose job is like to open the mail, scan these documents and data (and) enter all of that stuff into a computer.”

The electronic filing system is the result of years of modernization that Alper says came from the legislature providing $34.7 million to the department to update antiquated systems.

Alaskans can already pay several types of taxes and licensing fees using the Revenue Online system. That includes corporate income tax, tobacco tax and licensing, mining and motor fuel licenses and fuel and oil and gas property tax, according to the department. Alper said the remaining tax programs should be fully integrated into the system by the end of February.

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