Back in June I posted “Most Costly Sales and Use Tax Compliance Errors.” In this blog, I described one of the errors was not filing and paying electronically.

Did you know that there are almost twenty states that require you to file electronically?

There are others that have thresholds in place and once you meet the threshold, then you will be required to file electronically. To support this e-filing capability, states are continuously updating their websites. This year has been an active year with states revamping their e-filing websites (read more about South Carolina and Arizona e-filing updates) and adding extra security measures.


In addition to reducing risk, here are some additional advantages related to e-filing:

  • More accurate filing – Many states have calculations, verifications and warnings in their website that will ensure you are filing the return you are registered for, reduce math errors, make sure your state revenue is appropriate to your local revenue, etc. Resolving these simple errors before they occur can eliminate some pesky notices and the time to resolve them.


  • Return filing confirmation – Once you e-file a return, you can print a copy of your return including a confirmation number that shows the date and time of your submission. Now you don’t have to run to the post office to get a Certificate of Mailing to prove timely filing or worry about something getting lost in the mail.


  • Paying electronically – In most states when you file electronically, it will allow you to pay electronically as well. Again, being able to have confirmation of your payment instantly is a great plus.


  • Reviewing history – Many of the e-file websites allow you to go back and see your filing and payment history.


  • Instant access – Generally you can update taxpayer information, view notices, file amended returns, file a petition, ask general questions through email, file for multiple tax types, etc.


  • Efficient upload – No one likes keying data into a return of multiple jurisdictions. AR, CA, FL, GA, KS, OH, OK, TX, WA offer EDI upload that streamlines the filing of these returns.


  • Life saver for Louisiana Parishes – The Parish e-file can save you significant time. By filing online, you have one login and can file one return after the other. Also, it does not allow you to move forward if you have errors which practically ensures you will not get a notice!

Below are several larger states and whether they require e-filing or not:


e-filing Requirement   







When the taxpayer has paid that tax in the prior state fiscal year in an amount of $20,000 or more.






Beginning with the sales tax return due on June 20, 2011, quarterly filers and tax return preparers are required to Web File their returns.

Carol McIlvaine

Written by Carol McIlvaine