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Tax day one day away

The April 15 tax deadline is only a day away, and Pike County residents may be feeling some anxiety about getting taxes filed on time.

Dan Boone, the IRS spokesman for Alabama, said an extension is possible for those who are unable to file their taxes on time. “The most important thing is not to miss the Wednesday deadline to have a tax return filed,” Boone said. “If a problem arises and a person has trouble getting their taxes filed by Wednesday night at midnight, then an extension can be filed.” The extension would allow taxpayers until Oct. 15, 2009 to file a tax return. “It’s important to realize, however, that an extension does not mean that you have an extension on your payment if you owe taxes,” Boone said. “Any state or federal tax money that you owe must be paid by the Wednesday deadline, or you must enter into an online payment agreement, which can be found on our Web site.” An online payment agreement is applicable to those who owe $25,000 or less. Boone said the easiest way to file taxes is through the Internet. “A lot of people worry about security in e-filing, but as far as we know, the system has never been compromised. The companies that offer free filing on our Web site are all tested and double tested for their security,” he said. “We have companies that offer free filing for those who make $42,000 or less a year. We want to make it as easy as possible for people to be able to file their taxes on time.” Filing online and using direct deposit insures that taxpayers receive their refund in as little as 10 days. “The great thing about filing online and using direct deposit is that you will have your refund in 10 days or less,” Boone said. “If you file a paper return and are expecting a paper check, then it will take four to six weeks to get a refund.”

Marilyn Foster, a tax professional with H&R Block in Troy, said the company electronically files all returns. “We file all of our returns electronically. Some of the biggest mistakes people make when filing taxes on their own is they don’t sign their returns and they don’t double check their numbers,” Foster said.

The IRS offers help sites staffed by trained volunteers in Montgomery and Dothan. For the location of the help sites, call 1-800-906-9887. To request an extension on filing, or to register for an online payment agreement, visit www.irs.gov.