WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today urged taxpayers whose tax-filing extension runs out on Oct. 15 to double check their returns for often-overlooked tax benefits and then file their returns electronically using IRS e-file or the Free File system.
Many of the more than 11 million taxpayers who requested an automatic six-month extension this year have yet to file. Though Oct. 15 is the last day for most people, some still have more time, including members of the military and others serving in Iraq, Afghanistan or other combat zone.
Check Out Tax Benefits
Before filing, the IRS encourages taxpayers to take a moment to see if they qualify for these and other often-overlooked credits and deductions.
E-file Now: It’s Fast, Easy and Often Free
The IRS urged taxpayers to choose the speed and convenience of electronic filing. IRS e-file is fast, accurate and secure, making it an ideal option for those rushing to meet the Oct. 15 deadline. People who file electronically make fewer mistakes too.
Everyone can use Free File, either the brand-name software, offered by IRS’ commercial partners to individuals and families with incomes of $57,000 or less, or online fillable forms, the electronic version of IRS paper forms available to taxpayers at all income levels.
Anyone expecting a refund can get it sooner by choosing direct deposit. Taxpayers can choose to have their refunds deposited into as many as three accounts. See Form 8888 for details.
Quick and Easy Payment Options
Taxpayers with extensions should file their returns by Oct. 15, even if they can’t pay the full amount due. Doing so will avoid the late-filing penalty, normally five percent per month, that would otherwise apply to any unpaid balance after Oct. 15. However, interest and late-payment penalties will continue to accrue.
Taxpayers can e-pay what they owe, either online or by phone, through the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), by electronic funds withdrawal or with a credit or debit card. There is no IRS fee for any of these services, but for debit and credit card payments only, the private-sector card processors do charge a convenience fee. Those who choose to pay by check or money order should make the payment out to the “United States Treasury”.
Most people can set up a payment agreement with the IRS on line. Those who owe $50,000 or less in combined tax, penalties and interest can use the Online Payment Agreement to set up a monthly payment agreement for up to six years or request a short-term extension to pay. Taxpayers can choose this option even if they have not yet received a bill or notice from the IRS.
Taxpayers can also request a payment agreement by filing Form 9465-FS. This form can be mailed along with a tax return, bill or notice.
Details on all filing and payment options are on IRS.gov.