Texas Residents Embrace Tax Season; Lead Rest of Nation Into Electronic Age

COMFORT, Texas, Feb. 3, 2000 — This tax season, Microsoft Corp. and the 8,000 residents of Comfort, Texas, will team up to show the rest of the country that tax preparation and filing can be easy and stress-free.

The Microsoft TaxSaver TM team announced today that it is
Comfort, a community near San Antonio, to help residents easily prepare and file their personal income taxes using TaxSaver – the new tax preparation software product from Microsoft. The town is being equipped with two computerized do-it-yourself tax preparation and filing centers, on-site help using the software, and expert-led tax seminars – all free of charge to Comfort residents.

The goal of the program is to encourage 100 percent of Comfort’s tax-filing community to use tax software to prepare and electronically file their personal income taxes – making the town the most
spot in the country this tax season. The announcement is timely considering the following:

  • 10 million taxpayers nationally used a tax software product to prepare and file their federal income taxes last year.

  • Congress has set a goal for 80 percent of all tax returns to be filed electronically by 2007.

  • This year, the IRS expects to receive about 33.6 million tax returns electronically – or one in four returns.

  • Last year, about 15 percent of Comfort residents electronically filed their tax returns using tax software or an e-filing service, and less than 15 percent filed their taxes using a personal tax software product.

“We applaud the Comfort program and wish residents many happy returns this tax filing season,”
said Robert Barr, IRS assistant commissioner, Electronic Tax Administration.
“Filing online helps the government process returns more quickly, issue refunds faster and deliver quality service at less cost over time. It’s where America wants to be.”

Kick-Off Ceremony

Former Texas Gov. Ann Richards helped kick off the community service program today at a ceremony at the Comfort Community Center, the site of one of the new tax centers. During the ceremony, Richards cracked a giant pencil in half, symbolizing the residents’ commitment to prepare and file their personal income taxes using tax software.

“Today’s rally of families and business owners shows that we’re serious about getting our taxes done the easy way,”
said Comfort Chamber of Commerce President G.P. Shryer.

“The people of Comfort, Texas, want to be the most relaxed tax filers in America this year. When everyone else is scrambling to get their taxes done this spring, we’ll be sitting pretty.”

Adopting Comfort

The Microsoft TaxSaver team’s ten-week adoption program offers residents free copies of TaxSaver Federal Deluxe, free electronic filings and tax education for the 1999 tax season:

  • The town’s two new
    tax centers will open to residents on Saturday, Feb. 5, 2000, and remain open each weekend until Monday, April 17, 2000, at midnight.

  • Volunteers from the Texas Chapter of the National Association of Tax Practitioners will help staff the centers to provide assistance to residents using the software.

  • A tax seminar series will inform residents about tax preparation and filing issues. Seminar presenters include best-selling authors and tax experts such as tax attorney Jeff Schnepper (
    “How to Pay Zero Taxes, 2000”
    ); certified financial planner Ginger Applegarth (
    “Wake Up and Smell the Money”
    ); and speakers from professional services firm Arthur Andersen.

  • The TaxSaver team will donate a quantity of the tax center computers, provided by ACER, to the Comfort community upon completion of the program.

“We’re creating a roadmap in Comfort, Texas, to show the rest of the country how personal computers, tax software and e-filing can ease the tax preparation and filing process,”
said Microsoft TaxSaver Product Manager Gayle Cruise.

About Microsoft TaxSaver

Microsoft’s TaxSaver tax software product provides consumers with easy-to-use, professional-quality tax guidance, preparation and filing. TaxSaver was designed by a team of tax experts, and rigorously tested and then endorsed by the professional services firm Arthur Andersen. The estimated retail price for TaxSaver Federal Deluxe is $39.95 with a $20 rebate (includes one free e-filing). TaxSaver Federal has an estimated retail price of $19.95 with a $5 rebate.* TaxSaver can be ordered online from http://shop.microsoft.com/product/taxsaver , or can be acquired nationally at retailers carrying software products including CompUSA Inc., Best Buy Company Inc., Staples Inc., Office Depot Inc., OfficeMax Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Local retailers may also be offering special promotions such as
“Get TaxSaver for free when you acquire Money 2000,”
among others.**

The TaxSaver Federal trial version is also available for free download at http://taxsaver.MSN.com/ or via the MSN TM MoneyCentral TM personal finance online service (connect-time charges may apply). This online version allows consumers to prepare their taxes and pay only when they’re ready to print or electronically file their return. Then customers may print a filable return or e-file their return for a $19.95 fee.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software – any time, any place and on any device.

*$20 and $5 rebate offers valid with qualifying proofs of purchase in the 50 United States and the District of Columbia only. Expires May 17, 2000. Limit one rebate per household. Not to be combined with other Microsoft offers, including free TaxSaver offer.

**Microsoft TaxSaver Federal is free (up to $24.95 value) after mail-in rebate when any version of Microsoft Money 2000 is acquired. Or, Microsoft TaxSaver Federal Deluxe is free (up to $44.95 value) after mail-in rebate when either Microsoft Money 2000 Deluxe or Microsoft Money 2000 Personal & Business is acquired. Offers valid from Aug. 15, 1999, through May 17, 2000, with qualifying proofs of purchase. Limit one per household. Offers valid in the 50 United States and the District of Columbia only. All qualifying coupons must be received by June 17, 2000. Not to be combined with other Microsoft offers, including Microsoft TaxSaver rebate offers.

Microsoft, Microsoft TaxSaver, MSN and MoneyCentral are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web site at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/ on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.

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