West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin and State Tax Commissioner Christopher G. Morris today encouraged West Virginians to take advantage of free federal and state personal income tax electronic filing services.

"Qualified West Virginia taxpayers are able to file their state personal income taxes electronically for free," Manchin said. "The state has an agreement with the Free File Alliance to provide this service."

The Free File Alliance is a coalition of 19 private tax software companies that have partnered with the State Tax Department and the Internal Revenue Service to provide free electronic tax preparation services. Users are then transferred to the participating company's Web site, where they receive the necessary help to prepare, complete and electronically file their federal and state personal income tax returns. Free e-filing cannot be obtained for personal income tax returns by visiting the participating software vendors' Web sites directly.

"In these tough economic times, e-filing allows taxpayers who are due a refund to have their refund directly deposited in their account in as little as 10 days," Morris said, "In addition, the Free File Alliance allows taxpayers who make less than $56,000 a year to e-file at no cost."