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Minn. Department of Revenue accepting 2012 tax returns

ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Department of Revenue announced Wednesday that it is now accepting individual income tax returns for 2012.

Taxpayers will have until April 15 to file their tax returns.

The department encourages taxpayers to electronically file their returns, saying in a news release that e-filing is faster, more accurate and more secure.

“Taxpayers will receive their tax refunds much faster by electronically filing and receiving their refund by direct deposit,” Terri Steenblock, assistant commissioner for individual taxes, said in a news release. “E-filing can also help reduce errors which can lead to a bigger refund.”

The department also offered these tax filing tips:

* Electronically deposit your refund. Both paper and electronic filers can opt to have their refund electronically deposited. Requesting electronic deposit will allow for a quicker refund.

* Make payments electronically to control when the money is transferred. For more information about making your payment electronically, please visit the department’s website,

*  A list of approved software products for e-filing is on the website.

* Find M1 tax instruction booklets on the website or at a library. The department no longer mails Form M1 tax booklets.

* Get free tax assistance. Depending on income, some taxpayers may qualify for free e-filing. Visit the IRS website, or the Department of Revenue website for more information.

* File taxes on time. The due date is April 15, 2013.

* Understand your options. Refund anticipation loans offered by some tax preparers often charge very high interest rates which can reduce a taxpayer’s refund.

* This is the last year the department will be mailing out paper check refunds. Beginning in 2014, taxpayers can elect direct deposit or debit cards.

The department’s website offers additional information and answers to many frequently asked questions.