Gov. Patrick proposes ban of fees for filing electronic state tax returns

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Governor Deval Patrick has proposed legislation that would ban tax preparation software companies, such as the maker of TurboTax, from charging Massachusetts taxpayers a fee to file their state returns electronically.

Such fees have become an issue as tax officials try to encourage Massachusetts taxpayers to file through the Internet, which would not only speed refunds, but also save the state thousands of dollars spent processing paper returns.

But the effort has been hindered by fees charged by tax software companies to file state returns electronically. While there is no additional fee to e-file federal tax documents, Intuit Inc., the California company that makes TurboTax, charges $19.99 per form to e-file state income taxes. Rival H&R Block charges $19.95, and TaxAct charges $7.95.

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