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April 23, 2003

DOR Relieves Pressure on Taxpayers Working to Comply with e-Filing Law

TALLAHASSEE - The Florida Department of Revenue (DOR) has announced that taxpayers will not be penalized if they are unable to file unemployment tax reports and pay unemployment tax electronically in April 2003.

"We understand that electronic filing represents a change for some taxpayers," said Jim Zingale, executive director of the Revenue Department. "We believe it's a change for the better. E-filing is safe, convenient, it helps reduce errors, and it will save time and money for all concerned. But to ease the transition to electronic filing, we want to give taxpayers more time to prepare to use e-filing options."

To reduce the burden of tax compliance, the Department will not impose penalty if taxpayers or tax preparers are not able to comply with the electronic filing and payment requirements for unemployment tax for the first quarter of 2003. Unemployment tax reports (Form UCT-6 ) for the first quarter of 2003 are late after April 30.

A 2002 state law requires many taxpayers and tax preparers to begin filing unemployment tax reports and paying unemployment tax electronically starting in April 2003. Taxpayers may use the Department's e-filing options or file using software purchased from DOR-certified vendors. About 89,000 employers were affected by the unemployment-tax requirements of the new law. But as of April 21, an estimated 20,000 employers had not yet enrolled to file and pay unemployment tax electronically. The Department expects heavy demand for assistance in late April.

About 60,000 businesses have voluntarily signed up to use electronic filing and payment options even though they were not required to do so. Many taxpayers who have successfully used the e-filing options report that the system is easy to use and safe. Overall, DOR surveys have shown three out of four taxpayers report satisfaction with DOR's electronic filing and payment systems. If taxpayers already are prepared to e-file, DOR strongly encourages them to do so.

The 2002 e-filing law requires employers to file unemployment tax reports and to pay tax electronically if they employed 10 or more employees in any calendar quarter during the previous state fiscal year (July 2001 through June 2002). Tax preparers who prepared and reported unemployment tax for five or more employers also are required to electronically file and pay unemployment tax on behalf of their clients.

Businesses are required to file sales tax returns and pay sales tax electronically if they paid more than $30,000 in sales tax in the previous state fiscal year (July 2001 through June 2002).

For information about complying with requirements to file and pay unemployment tax electronically, please call 1-800-482-8293. For information about requirements to file and pay sales, fuel, and other taxes electronically, please call 1-800-352-3671 from within Florida. For more information, you may also visit the DOR Internet site at www.myflorida.com/dor/.