Many people do not realize that it is possible to file their state income taxes separately from their federal taxes. Most states now offer free electronic filing services and downloads of tax forms online. For example, Ohio even provides the ability for free online tax calculation and filing through their I-File system and enables Internet credit card payment of any owed taxes. In addition, when people download or file their returns online, the state government saves an average of one to two dollars per return, according to Ohio Department of Taxation. However, all states still issue printed forms usually distributed through city halls, post offices and libraries.
Gather your W2 forms before sitting down to prepare your state taxes. You should have received these from your employer.
Visit your state Department of Taxation website, your local library, your local city hall, or your local post office to obtain state income tax forms. Alternatively, you can usually electronically file your taxes in most states.
Use the services of an online tax preparer if you prefer. However, keep in mind that a few sites will charge about $7 to $15 to do this. In most cases, you are better served by using free or state electronic filing services.
Prepare your state income taxes by either handwriting onto printed forms or filling out electronic forms online. You will be asked questions such as your full name, address, birth date, Social Security Number, employment information, wages and any tax withheld. State form packets, if you are not using an electronic form, give complete details on how to calculate your state tax liability.
Submit your electronic state tax filing online as directed. You will likely be prompted to pay any taxes owed with a credit card, or be given the option to mail a check. If you are owed a refund, you will likely need to submit your checking or savings account information to have the money directly deposited into your account.
Mail your printed and signed tax forms to your state Department of Taxation as noted in your state's manual, if you used this method to prepare your income taxes. You can include a check for any state tax liability, or opt to be billed in most cases. If a refund is due, you may be able to provide your checking or savings account information on the forms or receive a check in the mail.
Remember that most employed people must file a state tax return in addition to and separately from their federal tax return.
Never withhold requested information from a state tax form, as this is usually considered a serious crime.