For Immediate Release:
April 10, 2008
Department of Revenue Secretary
News Conference at UW-Green Bay
"…if you log onto www.revenue.wi.gov,
you’ll immediately go to our free-file site. It’s easy to pull up, it’s free
and it’s user-friendly."
- Secretary Roger Ervin
UW-Green Bay, April 10, 2008
GREEN BAY-Wisconsin Department of Revenue Secretary Roger Ervin held
a news conference on the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay campus Thursday
afternoon (April 10). He discussed the status of this year’s income tax
processing and provided updated statistics, including electronic filing
rates and average tax refunds. The percentage of e-filed returns is expected
to reach a record high this season with more than 70 percent of returns
coming in electronically.
Secretary Ervin Speaks on Improved Efficiency in Tax Processing
“There are more products in the market today than ever before. Some
of those are free. At the Department of Revenue, we have a free file
mechanism and at the Internal Revenue Service—they have a free-file
product as well.”
"You can get your call answered in as little as 10 minutes. It’s good
for people seeking information on their refunds and those who need
more detailed tax help."
- Secretary Roger Ervin
on telephone tax assistance
phone: (608) 266-2772
“I'm very happy that we’ve had such great success in terms
of the number of people that have filed this year so early and the
number of options we’ve had available.”
“Last year we had some difficulties in terms of tax processing.
Throughout the fall, after the processing season was over, we made some
significant and deep changes to the way we intake tax forms into our
system. We’ve gone from places where we had 50- to 60-percent error rates
down to 2- and 3-percent error rates.
“We’ve increased the speed in terms of intake, increased the speed
in terms of output. People have gotten their returns back sooner. We
have created efficiencies that have saved dollars.”
“The Department of Revenue is quickly moving to a higher, technology-based
architecture. Over time, a lot of the processes that have been done by
labor and are very expensive to maintain, will be automated. We can use
employees in the department to perform more higher-level functions, more
customer oriented functions and allow individuals to have more management
over their own data.” - Secretary Roger Ervin
The state of Wisconsin is working on creating a new “dynamic” Web site
for e-filing that will “do the math for you.”
In two years, the state will roll out a
“Taxpayer Assistance Account” for citizens and businesses. That system will
incorporate more taxpayer information directly into the filing system for
faster automation. Names, address, personal information, earnings and taxes
taken directly from W-2 forms, etc.
Secretary Ervin Speaks on VITA
“We will have VITA sites expanding across the state. We have
committed volunteers like Brooke (Borchert, 22, senior from Sun Prairie
and student co-coordinator of the VITA program on campus) working in
our facilities and providing free tax service to our citizens so they
can understand what their obligations are, understand the legal requirements
and help them file and get their refunds back sooner. It’s that kind
of effort… that really makes the tax system go.
“The really important
message here is we’re investing in the community. At the end of the
day we can assure the public that they can have a maximum amount of
confidence in our tax system. They can file and know they will get
accuracy, speed and accountability.”
VITA Student Coordinator Speaks on Serving the Community
co-coordinator of the UW-Green Bay VITA program. 22-year-old
senior from Sun Prairie, Wis.
“In class and in lectures, we learn about Connecting Learning
to Life. VITA really just provides an opportunity for students
to get out in the community and really get to know people through
the community and help them as well. It’s been a great program…
It’s been a great opportunity and a really great service to the
UW-Green Bay VITA Site Gives Representative and Alumnus Pride
Wisconsin Representative James Soletski
(D-Green Bay, 88th Assembly
“This is just another example of how the university works with our
community. It makes me proud to have once attended UW-Green Bay and
it makes me proud to represent the university.
“They have had over
300 returns processed at this VITA site and there will be more processed
in the next few days. This is a real important point how for the University
of Wisconsin works with us day in and day out and is just one more
example of how we get to use the university and how the university
is of assistance to the city, the county and the region around (us).”
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance
also visited with UW-Green Bay’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance workers while
they helped citizens do their taxes. VITA is a partnership among the IRS, DOR,
local governments, educational institutions and community organizations to
provide free tax preparation for low- and moderate-income individuals. The
UW-Green Bay VITA program, which is more than 30 years old, is coordinated
by student leadership and advised by a faculty member.
“If you need to use paper or walk in and receive tax assistance from
a professional, we have VITA sites. Those are Voluntary Income Tax Centers.
Those are available across the state. We have one available at UW-Green
Bay that is available for citizens. Those sites are staffed by tax professionals
who can take your paper return and turn it into an electronic format
in as little as 16 minutes.
"The great part about this is it’s a service
to the community, and not only is it available at community centers
like UW, but also at senior centers for elderly folks who may not
be as able to travel as far for tax assistance.”
Assistant Chancellor for University Advancement Steve Swan, Assemblyman
James Soletski (D-Green Bay) and Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance
Tom Maki chat with Department of Revenue Secretary Roger Ervin (back
turned) after his press conference on Thursday, April 10. Ervin noted
the importance of Voluntary Income Tax Assistance programs, including
the one held on campus, and said he expects to see more of them around
the state in the near future.