Procrastinators, the deadline to file your taxes is rapidly approaching. Midnight Tuesday is the magic time.
“We do have a large segment of the population who are unsure whether or not they owe, and that will procrastinate until the last minute,” said Micheal Hayes, an H&R Block office leader in the Sacramento, Calif., area.
And the last minute this year is April 17, instead of the traditional April 15, for two reasons: First, April 15 falls on a Sunday and, second, Emancipation Day, a legal holiday, will be celebrated Monday in Washington D.C.
Those who prepare taxes are expecting some extra last-minute filers this year, and for them to procrastinate a few more days than usual.
But Hayes said a knowledge of the tax code could offer some comfort to those who worry about what they owe.
“There is a new program where (some) people can avoid the failure to pay penalty” imposed for not filing on time, Hayes said.
If tax filers have been out of work for 30 days at any time since Jan. 1, 2011, or are self-employed and have experienced a 25 percent or greater reduction in their income because of the poor economy last year, they qualify for the Fresh Start program, which allows them to apply for an extension to pay.
If approved, Hayes said those taxpayers will still be charged regular interest on the unpaid taxes, but they won’t be charged the additional penalty for unpaid taxes.
Those who have offered free help to people with low to moderate income are worried that some who are planning not to file don’t realize there is money out there for them to claim.
“There have been many who thought that there is no reason to file a tax return,” said Roger Condie, director of the Ogden Weber Community Action Partnership Inc. and the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program regional coordinator.
He said sometimes people don’t file because they didn’t make any money, they didn’t make much or they had nothing withheld.
But even so, Condie said, filing is in a person’s best interest.
“If you have not filed your 2008, 2009, 2010 tax returns, there is money you could be missing out on,” he said. “For 2009 and 2010, there was a ‘Making Work Pay’ credit, giving up to $800 to those who held a job for any amount of time in those years.”
Midnight Tuesday is the statutory deadline to file a 2008 return and claim a refund for that tax year.
Bill Brunson, regional IRS media relations officer, said 7,800 Utah residents collectively are due $6.6 million in refunds from 2008.
Condie said those who made less than $43,000 could also be eligible for Earned Income Tax Credit.
“Each child you have could be worth up to $1,000 in credits,” he said. “You don’t know unless you come file, and why not give it a try for free at a VITA site?”
Volunteers will be available to help with taxes today from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and Monday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Ogden Weber Community Action Partnership Inc., located at 3159 Grant Ave. in Ogden.
Those who want to make an appointment may call 211 on Monday during business hours.
Together, eight sites throughout the Ogden area have offered close to 2,000 hours of free tax-preparation services.