Are you wondering why you haven't received your South Carolina income tax package in the mail as usual?
The reason is that the state Department of Revenue has decided to quit mailing them to save money and go a little green by using less paper.
The revenue department said most people don't use the mailed booklet or forms anyway, preferring to file electronically or use tax preparers, who also tend to file electronically.
Is the revenue department concerned that some taxpayers will not file their state income tax without the reminder from the mass-mailed booklets? Not in the slightest, said Adrienne Fairwell, a public affairs officer with the state Department of Revenue.
Taxpayers get plenty of reminders such as W-2 forms and all those interest, tax and mortgage statements they receive in advance of the income tax filing deadline, she said. Besides, "the Department has a robust system in place that handles taxpayers who do not voluntarily comply with the law to file a timely tax return."
One added reason why the department is not concerned about taxpayers forgetting to file is that South Carolina is what is known as "an 80-percent refund state." That means that four of every five people who file income tax returns will get refunds.
For those who absolutely must have a paper copy, they are available at public libraries, or by contacting the Department of Revenue.
Fairwell said the department estimates only 10 percent of the state's 2.4 million taxpayers still use the mailed booklet and forms. By not mailing them, the department will save $271,000 and eliminate a considerable amount of paper handling, she said. For a department that his seen its budget cut from $42 million the previous fiscal year to $34 million this year, any savings is important, she said,
Individual income tax is one of the main revenue sources for the state. It brought in more than $2.8 billion during the last tax year.