This year, taxpayers have an extra weekend to file due to a District of Columbia Holiday.
According to a news release from the Internal Revenue Service, as of March 25, the IRS has received more than 82 million individual income tax returns, which is 58 percent of the 141 million returns expected this year.
Those who still need to file their taxes have the option of using the IRS Free File, which is brand-name software or online fillable forms that are used to prepare e-file returns at no charge. The software is available to 70 percent of taxpayers — those who earn $58,000 or less. Fillable forms also have no income limitations. For more information or to get started with the program, visit the Web site, www.irs.gov/freefile.
Taxpayers can file an extension as well. Also, economic recovery tax credits are still available. According to the IRS, to earn some credits, such as the Making Work Pay Credit, individuals must claim the $400 ($800 for married couples) in order to receive it.
The IRS encouraged taxpayers to follow these tips when filing their taxes:
• Start now to gather information and prepare returns in order to avoid hasty and costly errors.
• Many tax credits from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) are available. There’s also an expanded American Opportunity Credit of up to $2,500 for tuition, books and fees; a larger energy credit of up to $1,500; and an expanded Earned Income Tax Credit for larger families of up to $5,666.
• The $8,000 first-time homebuyer credit is still available for people who entered into a binding contract by April 30, 2010 and went to settlement by Sept. 30, 2010.
• Consider using the previously mentioned IRS Free File.
• File electronically to get a faster refund, have secure, encrypted transmission and a more accurate tax return. E-filing is available through a tax preparer, the IRS Free File or through commercial software products.
• Those who are unable to meet the April 18 filing deadline can file an extension — Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. All taxpayers can use the Free File to submit a Form 4868 for an automatic six-month extension.
• The six-month extension is to file a return only; it is not an extension to pay taxes due. Those who are unable to pay their taxes are encouraged to still file in order to decrease the penalties that they could receive. Once filed, taxpayers can work with the IRS to set up a payment plan or can go to the Web site, IRS.gov and use the Online Payment Agreement Application.