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Deadline filers may need to file extension

Today is the day that most Americans dread with a passion: the deadline day to file income taxes.

Most of us will meet the deadline, almost literally, as thousands will rush to have their returns postmarked by midnight. That is a luxury that people in Demopolis do not have, as the local post office will only take mail through business hours. However, taxpayers can file electronically.

For those who are pushing the tax return envelope to the wire, there is help. Local accountants recommended that anyone filing this late consider getting an extension with the Internal Revenue Service.

“The extension form, Form 4868, is available at the IRS Web site at www.irs.gov,” said Eddas King-Easley of the Suburban Express Tax Service on Washington Street in Demopolis. The extension will give taxpayers until Oct. 15 to file their tax return.

The IRS expects almost 10 million extension requests, with 1.9 million of those coming electronically.

“We’ve had more people file with us this year than last year,” said Kate Allinder of H&R Block in Demopolis. “We’ve also seen more people file for extensions this year than last year.”

Local accountants urged last-minute filers to make sure their returns are done accurately.

“They need to make sure that everything is correct,” Allender said. “If they make an error, they’re going to have to amend their time.”

According to the IRS Web site, taxpayers who owe taxes and don’t file their tax return by the deadline may face interest on the unpaid taxes and a failure-to-file penalty. Interest and penalties add to the total amount a taxpayer owes.

Filing by the deadline allows taxpayers to avoid the failure-to-file penalty, even if they can’t pay all or some of their taxes by the deadline. Taxpayers who can’t file their return by the deadline can request an extension of time to file. However, an extension of time to file is not an extension of time to pay.

Taxpayers traditionally wait until the last day to file their tax returns. If you are one of those people, remember that the post office will only postmark envelopes during working hours, to make sure your return is accurate if you are filing today, and to file for an extension through the IRS Web site or through a local accountant.