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Updated: April 29, 2024 30th Anniversary

For Maine CPAs, e-filing is only one of the changes in recent decades

Mainebiz isn’t the only organization celebrating an anniversary. We recently heard from Trish Brigham, executive director of the Maine Society of CPAs, who noted that the trade group turned 100 years old in February.

“Looking back, we’ve been astonished by so many changes for our always hard working members,” she writes. “We thought fax machines were so revolutionary, then computers in cases were the next big thing, then laptops — whoa, that seemed impossible to fathom 50 years ago!”

She notes that email “dramatically changed how accountants interacted with colleagues and clients, and software for audit and tax work took the way we work to a whole new level. Quite a change from pencils, legal pads, adding machines and handheld calculators.”

Brigham also provided a few then-and-now examples of change that Mainebiz readers and taxpayers might enjoy. Data comes from Maine Revenue Services.

  • In the past 14 years, the percentage of individual income tax returns filed electronically vs. paper copy has nearly doubled to 91%.
  • In 1970 in Maine, 338,922 tax returns were filed electronically. By 2022, the number nearly tripled, to 845,155 electronic fillings.
  • Before electronic filing, seasonal help was brought on to process paper returns and store all that paper. Accounting firms often had “garage-sized storage buildings,” Brigham says.
  • Refunds that once took weeks to process typically now take just a few days.

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