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Bastrop Daily Enterprise - Bastrop, LA
  • Web services streamline last-minute filings

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  • Today marks one week until the April 15 federal income tax filing deadline, which means it’s time for even the best procrastinators to buckle down and start organizing paperwork and preparing forms for snail mail submission or e-filing.
    According to the IRS, four out of five federal returns are now submitted electronically. To keep up with demand, the service has developed a variety of tools to meet the needs of taxpayers, including last-minute filers.
    The free IRS filing service, available at IRS.gov, provides taxpayers with less than $58,000 in adjusted gross income with online access to brand-name tax preparation software. The free file service remains accessible until October 15 of the tax filing year. Filers who can’t meet the regular deadline can also use free file to request an automatic six-month extension.
    While an extension request does provide extra time for return submission, it does not extend the deadline for paying taxes due. Penalties and interest are assessed on any funds owed to the IRS and not paid by April 15.
    If the taxes due cannot be paid on time, an online payment agreement tool helps taxpayers determine if they qualify for a repayment plan and file a payment agreement application. Penalties and interest are also assessed on funds owed that are enrolled in an agreement.
    When a refund is due, the IRS states that it, “issues more than nine in ten” refunds in 21 days or less and also provides a tracking tool to sooth concerned filers. The Where’s My Refund tool updates every 24-hours and lets users track the progress of a return through the submission, review, acceptance and refund process.
    On the state side, Louisiana income tax returns are due on May 15. The state Department of Revenue website also provides free online filing for taxpayers as well as access to online payment of taxes due and extension requests.
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