Raleigh, N.C. — Sherry Wilshire-Eshelman has a stack of paper booklets she has used to help file the tax returns for her company every year since she formed the Tutorial Services Inc. in 2001.
So, when the Chapel Hill business owner sent away for the 2014 tax year booklet this month, she was surprised by the North Carolina Department of Revenue's reply.
Instead of the usually detailed book giving instructions on how to file her company's S Corporation return, Wilshire-Eshelman got a hand-scrawled sticky note suggesting she look online for the guidelines.
"I pay taxes each quarter to the state, they make me jump through a myriad of hoops, and yet they are not going to provide us a booklet to do our taxes, as they have all the previous years," she wrote in an email to WRAL News. "What if someone does not have access to a computer? It is just not right."
She's probably not alone. Of the thousands of corporations in North Carolina, many are S Corporations, which are typically smaller companies with only one or a handful of owners.
To be clear: the department is still printing 100,000 copies of the familiar booklets that help individuals file their tax returns.
But Trevor Johnson, a spokesman for the Department of Revenue, says this is the first year that the state hasn't printed booklets as a guide to filing taxes for S Corporations such as Wilshire-Eshelman's. Decreasing demand has led the department to cut back on printing individual booklets.
"The department has been steadily decreasing the amount of printed booklets for a number of years. For tax year 2012, 5,000 copies were printed. For tax year 2013, 3,000 copies were printed. And then starting for TY 2014, the document is available exclusively online," he said in an email.
That said, the department should have sent a more robust reply to Wilshire-Eshelman, Johnson said.
"The initial response a taxpayer should receive, especially for those contacting NCDOR via phone, is direction from our call agents on how to access and print the booklets online through our website," he said. "If a taxpayer does not have access to the Internet, we have instructed our personnel to print out the form or booklet which has been requested and mail the materials to the taxpayer."