If you are yet to file your federal income tax returns for 2012, luck is at hand. This year, you will have a couple of additional days to do it.
Rather than the usual 15th April deadline, taxpayers can send their returns in as late as midnight 17th April.
A spokesman for the IRS, Christopher Miller, assured people that they have no need to panic.
The 2 day extension has been granted because the 15th falls on a Sunday, followed by Emancipation Day on the 16th, which is a federal holiday in the Colombia District.
As ever, according to Miller, lots of tax filing assistance is provided for filers completing returns at the last minute. For example, taxpayers can visit www.irs.gov/freefile and utilize the free IRS File on the internet. It provides complimentary software to e file and prepare taxes.
Miller stated that the group of tax help software businesses, called Free File Alliance, have affiliated with the IRS Volunteer Program for Income Tax Assistance to aid a greater number of lower and moderate level taxpayers. With this new affiliation, software is accessible at self serve computer terminals located in virtually 300 areas throughout 29 states, which includes the Quad Cities.
The group executive director, Tim Hugo, said that the Free File Alliance aims to offer online e filing and preparation services for US residents who may not be capable of paying for professional tax filing assistance or tax software.
The program, that started in 2003, offers people who earn $50000.00 or below complimentary tax preparation, along with personal tax help at nationwide locations. IRS certified voluntary staff assist taxpayers in the completion of their yearly tax returns, and offer tax credit information about credits that some taxpayers may be able to claim, like Child Tax Credits, Credits for the Disabled or Elderly and Earned Income Tax Credits.
At a local level, this program is managed by Quad Cities United Way and by additional sponsors, according to Scott Crane, who is president of the Quad City United Way company.
Crane said that, during the previous year, they did 5500 returns and that this year, by the 1st March, they were 15% up. Apparently, this meant that $5.5 million was returned back to the community last year.
The program ends on 14th April and is reachable in numerous local sites. These include the offices of the United Way in Davenport.
Paul Gilbert is a retired agent for the IRS from Davenport, who recently decided to volunteer for the program. Gilbert claimed that he has seen a constant stream of clients, while he was helping a client in the offices of the United Way.
LaVaughn Narbone, from Moline, started at the United Way the previous week, having learned about the program through a referral.
Narbone said that she had her taxes for this year completed in the Rock Island Martin Luther King Center, but that she also needed to complete her returns for the previous two years. The King Center, unfortunately, did not possess the correct software for doing this.
Sharon Scott from Davenport, another client, has used the program for a decade. She said she loves it because it is free and extremely thorough.
The H&R Block manager at Rock Island (1610 2nd Ave), Darnett Aldridge, claimed that lots of people are making use of his business’s offer to re assess tax returns which have been completed somewhere else.
Aldridge stated that many people who complete returns do it incorrectly and that he can sometimes save people as much as $10000.00.
The IRS said that most tax returns are electronically filed. A taxpayer that e files utilizes tax software which usually incorporates a question and answer style format. This format ensures that taxpayers get all of the deductions and credits to which they are entitled. Generally, the rate of error for e filed returns is lower than 1%, compared to about 20% for paper filed returns, according to the IRS.
Miller stated that people who are falling behind schedule can request a deadline extension on the internet, or by completing a 4868 Form.
Miller said that deadline extensions relate to tax filing, not to the time people have to pay the taxes they owe.
People who are unable to meet the tax paying deadline can phone the IRS to make arrangements for payment.
Miller added that a Fresh Start initiative was recently expanded by the IRS, which tries to help struggling taxpayers review their options for payment.
The owner of 4 Liberty Tax Services franchise offices, Theresa Harris, said she can see identical trends occurring this year that mirror trends which have occurred in the past.
Harris said that some people wanted their cash instantly, but then everything slowed down by March. Now though, she said the business owners who have to pay and the procrastinators are appearing. Apparently, this is exactly what happened over the past few years.