Louisiana state income tax returns are due May 15th. If you used TurboTax or another online–or even offline software to file your taxes, you are undoubtedly aware there is a fee associated with having your state taxes filed through this software. Are you aware, however, that you can file for free through the Louisiana Department of Revenue website?
Sounds too good to be true? To some extent, it is. Although it is commendable Louisiana is moving forward in this digital age, to say there remain a few “kinks to unkink” would be an understatement. If you are comfortable filling out your own tax forms, or you simply want to save the $40-50 charged by other tax preparation services, Louisiana e-file may be right for you. There are a few words to the wise before you attempt to file:
First, thoroughly read the instructions on the Department of Revenue’s site to set up your account. This may seem remedial, but in the end, you will avoid spending considerable time reading and re-reading these instructions while you are filing.
Second, contact the Louisiana Department of Revenue’s help desk. Ask what address they have on file for your account. This comes in handy when registering your account. For some users, the address is extremely outdated–sometimes by as much as four years. Unless you have been living at the same address for the last ten years, you will likely need to contact the help desk and ask for assistance registering your account.
Once you have finally established your account and are able to enter your tax information, it is advisable to complete a paper tax refund for Louisiana to reference during the process. This will make filing much smoother and more efficient. Be sure to read and re-read every screen carefully before submitting your tax return.
In the end, it is up to you to determine if the time and effort involved in filing your state taxes on the free revenue website is worth the money you may save.