Another consequence of Montana’s severe budget cuts is that the state’s Department of Revenue has discontinued an online service that allowed Montanans to file individual income taxes for free. Q2 reports that the state is now directing taxpayers to a nonprofit coalition of tax software companies that partner with the IRS called the Free File Alliance, to enable many– but not all — taxpayers to e-file their income tax returns for free.

Because of budget cutbacks, public information officer Mary Ann Dunwell, of the Department of Revenue, said they have 70 vacancies they cannot fill, and recently let go 23 more employees. She said it costs money to maintain the free tax-filing service, including the expense of programming new tax forms into the system every year. And it was becoming more difficult every year to justify the expense.

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