Washington Reports Saving $650,000 Annually with Electronic Documents

OLYMPIA, WA—Sept. 29, 2010—The Washington State Department of Revenue has cut its expenses by more than $650,000 annually by shifting from printed paper to electronic documents taxpayers can access online.

“We’ve looked for ways to reduce spending and promote sustainability even before we hit these tough economic times, and using the Internet to interact with our customers has helped immensely,” Revenue Director Cindi Holmstrom said. “We’ve moved to an on-demand system that gives people what they want, when they want it.”

A prime example is Tax Facts, a semiannual overview of policy changes and new legislation that the Department used to print and mail to thousands of businesses. Switching to an electronic version is saving the Department more than $234,000 a year. Users can read the publication online, print out sections of interest if desired, or click on hyperlinks to access additional online information.

In addition to reducing the amount of paper it mails out to businesses, the Department has significantly reduced the amount of paperwork it receives by having businesses file their tax returns electronically rather than by paper. In the past year, 1.3 million of 1.8 million business tax returns were filed electronically, and the number continues to grow.

Another example is the Department’s Unclaimed Property online claim system. Claims can be received, processed and paid more quickly without handling or generating any paper.

Holmstrom said the Department continues to reduce internal-use printing by printing both sides of sheets of paper, using more cost-efficient network printers, and simply minimizing the amount of paper it prints.

“We have not arrived at the ‘paperless office’ that futurists have long predicted, but we’re headed in the right direction,” she said.

Source: press release.