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Time's up: File those taxes now

By HELEN HUNTLEY
Published April 14, 2005


If you haven't filed your federal income tax return, you'd better get busy. Midnight Friday is the deadline for filing a 2004 return or a request for an extension. You're also expected to pay what you owe.

Although 80-million people had filed by April 1, the IRS is expecting 133-million returns. Most of the procrastinators will file this month, but about 9-million are expected to ask for an extension.

If you are rushing to get your return completed, be sure to take a few minutes to double-check the Social Security numbers on your return and check your math with a calculator if you did not prepare your return on a computer.

Also, don't overlook the new state and local sales tax deduction if you itemize.

And if you have dependent children, be sure you are taking advantage of the credits and deductions to which you are entitled.

File a return or a request an extension even if you can't pay what you owe. That way, you avoid having penalties added to those for not paying on time.

You can use Form 9465 to set up an installment payment plan or, if you think you have a hardship case, you can file Form 1127 to request more time to pay.

If you can't get your return completed, file Form 4868 to qualify for an automatic four-month extension. You can mail it, file electronically or file by telephone (toll-free 1-888-796-1074) by using the form as a worksheet and having your 2003 return handy.

To pay by credit card (with a convenience charge) call Official Payments Corp. (1-800-272-9829) or Link2Gov Corp. (1-888-729-1040) toll-free.

The IRS Web site (www.irs.gov) is a great resource, offering printable forms and publications and links to sites where you can file electronically for free. In addition, the IRS will answer last-minute questions by phone (toll-free 1-800-829-1040) until midnight tonight and Friday.

[Last modified April 14, 2005, 01:14:09]


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