New Hampshire has entered the second of three phases in changing the way people can pay state taxes, and this time it affects a lot more people.
The New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration is rolling out an online user portal and revenue management system that replaces a mix of systems, some of which date back 30 years and still used COBOL, a computer language created when Dwight Eisenhower was president.
As of Oct 5, approximately 139,000 New Hampshire taxpayers can now use a new system, which includes an updated online portal. They are people who pay the state Business Profits Tax, Business Enterprise Tax, Interest & Dividends Tax, and Communication Services Tax.
Last year the state made the change for businesses that pay the Meals and Rooms tax as well as two small groups of taxpayers – those who pay Nursing Facility Quality Assessment and Medicaid Enhancement taxes. That involved only about 9,000 accounts; the state said about three-quarters of those have enrolled in the new system.
NHDRA, which collects more than $2 billion in taxes each year, expects the full implementation for all tax types to be complete by the end of 2021.
The change involves what is called the Revenue Information Management System (RIMS), which handles the collection and accounting of collections, and Granite Tax Connect, the online user portal.
Granite Tax Connect allows people to file state taxes electronically or perform many functions familiar from financial online systems, such as scheduling automated payments, checking on the status of payments or refunds or viewing balances. It also allows for functions such as applying for a Meals & Rentals license or even anonymously reporting suspected tax fraud and adding or modifying a Power of Attorney.
Another advantage to the state is that they say the new system requires fewer employees to operate.
“Beyond ease of use for taxpayers, GTC and RIMS has streamlined our processes internally, enabling us to more effectively support our taxpayers and carry out our mission of fairly and efficiently administering the tax laws of the state of New Hampshire,” NHDRA Commissioner Lindsey Stepp said in a prepared statement.
The DRA has been looking to update its revenue-collection system for at least half a decade. It updated the system that calculates and handles property tax payments, which are under the purview of towns and cities rather than the state, several years ago.
In 2017, the state approved a $30 million appropriation for the switchover, and in 2018 the state signed a contract with Fast Enterprises, a Colorado IT firm that has installed similar systems in more than two dozen states, including Massachusetts.
The DRA says 20 FAST Enterprises employees moved to New Hampshire during implementation, and six NHDRA staff members are dedicated to the project full-time.