E-File Now, Pay Later, Despite Alabama Warning

Alabama taxpayers who thought they were doing the right thing by filing tax returns electronically, even though they owe money on those returns, got a bit of a surprise last week.

While the Alabama taxpayers saved paper and the time of state employees who would have had to process written tax returns manually, their reward for such efforts was a collection letter from the Alabama state government telling them they'd better pay their taxes within 10 days.

The recent trend has been to encourage taxpayers to file early and electronically with the incentive of receiving their refunds more quickly than if they had to wait for checks to be written, envelopes to be sealed, and the U.S. Post Office to make its deliveries.

Alabama taxpayers who file tax returns electronically and who owe money with those returns still have until April 15 to pay their tax bill. Taxpayers who owe money with their tax returns and who choose to e-file their tax returns may do so prior to April 15 and still wait until the regular deadline for making payment.

Alabama Department of Revenue spokeswoman Carla Snellgrove said the dunning letters were a mistake, and the mailing, which went to some 15,000 well-meaning Alabama taxpayers, was due to a computer error.

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