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April 30, 2003

DOR Extends Unemployment Filing Deadline to Help Taxpayers Comply with e-Filing Law

TALLAHASSEE - The Florida Department of Revenue (DOR) has extended the deadline for taxpayers who use electronic methods to file unemployment tax reports and pay tax until 5 p.m. EDT Monday, May 5, 2003, DOR announced Wednesday.

DOR will consider electronic filing of unemployment tax reports and electronic payment of tax payments to be submitted timely if they are submitted by that period. Normally, unemployment tax reports (Form UCT-6) and tax payments filed electronically would have to have been submitted by the close of business on April 29 to be considered timely.

"We understand that electronic filing represents a change for some taxpayers," said Jim Zingale, executive director of the Revenue Department. "We believe its 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."

About 89,000 Florida businesses were affected by a 2002 state law that required them to file unemployment tax reports and pay tax electronically. An additional 23,000 businesses were required to file sales tax returns and pay tax electronically. Electronic filing is safe, convenient, and costs the state half as much to administer as paper-based filing and payment methods.

Businesses affected by the 2002 law were to e-file their first unemployment tax reports for the first quarter of 2003 on or before April 29, 2003. In early April, the Department announced that it would not impose a penalty on businesses or tax preparers that timely filed their unemployment tax reports and paid tax using conventional paper-based methods. But the Department encouraged taxpayers ready to use electronic methods to do so. By extending the electronic filing deadline on Wednesday, the Department was acting to continue to encourage businesses to use e-filing methods rather than paper.

The 2002 law required businesses to file unemployment tax reports and pay tax electronically if they had 10 or more employees in any calendar quarter during the most recent state fiscal year (July 2001 to June 2002). Tax preparers were required to file unemployment tax reports electronically and pay tax on behalf of their clients if they prepared and filed unemployment tax reports for five or more employers in the most recent state fiscal year.

About 83,000 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 DORs electronic filing and payment systems. If taxpayers already are prepared to e-file, DOR strongly encourages them to do so.

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/.