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Last update: 4/11/08

[University of Wisconsin-Green Bay News Release]

For Immediate Release:

April 10, 2008

Department of Revenue Secretary
News Conference at UW-Green Bay

Secretary Roger Ervin Press Conference, April 10, 2008

"…if you log onto, 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.”

Other Highlights

“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

Secretary Everin

“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

Brooke Borchert speaking about VITA - Press Conference, April 10, 2008

Brook Borchert,
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 community.”

UW-Green Bay VITA Site Gives Representative and Alumnus Pride

Representative James Soletski

Wisconsin Representative James Soletski
(D-Green Bay, 88th Assembly District)

“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

Secretary Everin Visits UW-Green Bay VITA Location

Ervin 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.

Ervin stated,

“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.”

Steve Swan, James Soletski, and Tom Maki chat with Secretary Roger Ervin

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.




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08-88 | Contact: Mike Heine, (920) 465-2526


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