Taxpayers have two extra days to file this year

By Tonya Garner: Freedom Newspapers

Procrastinators have two extra days to file their tax returns this year.
Since the traditional April 15 filing day falls on a Saturday, the Internal Revenue Service has extended the deadline for most Americans to 11:59 p.m. on Monday.

Jerry Carlton, U.S. Postal Service supervisor in Clovis, said the deadline for residents choosing to mail their tax return with an April 17 postmark is 6 p.m. at both Clovis locations.

“People always wait until the last minute,” Carlton said, “so the retail counter will be busy.”

The Portales post office will also be keeping its regular business hours on Monday — 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., according to Postmaster Lea Anne Johnson. Johnson said tax returns placed in the blue collection containers before midnight will receive an April 17 postmark. Two containers are located around the town square and one is inside the post office.

Judy Benitscheck, owner of Jackson Hewitt Tax Service, said she would encourage taxpayers who hasn’t filed to submit their return electronically. The Clovis tax accountant said benefits of filing electronically include receiving a confirmation number and automatic payment deduction options.

“We’ll be open all day Monday to help anyone who waited until the last minute,” Benitscheck said.

Taxpayers who are unable to meet the Monday deadline do have the option of filing an extension. Form 4868 gives taxpayers an extension until Oct. 16. Filing an extension gives taxpayers extra days to file their taxes but not for paying any taxes due. Interest and possible late-payment penalties will apply. Form 4868 requires taxpayers to estimate their tax liability for 2005 and mail the balance due to the IRS.

Victims of Hurricane Katrina have until Aug. 28 to file this year under a blanket extension. Members of the armed forces serving in combat zones such as Iraq have until 180 days after they leave those zones to file.

Americans who live and work abroad get automatic two-month filing extensions.

Individuals in six eastern states and the District of Columbia will have even one more day, until Tuesday, to file returns and pay any taxes due, according to the IRS.

The IRS said that these taxpayers, served by the Andover, Mass., IRS processing center, will receive an additional day to file and pay because April 17 is Patriot’s Day, a state holiday in Massachusetts. Thus, the April 18 deadline will apply to individuals in Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont and the District of Columbia.