AUGUSTA - The Internal Revenue Service yesterday urged taxpayers who need additional time to complete their tax returns to submit their requests for an automatic extension electronically by April 15. E-filing a request for an extension is convenient, safe and secure, and taxpayers receive confirmation to keep with their records.
The extension gives taxpayers until October 15 to file the tax return. An extension does not give the taxpayer an extension of time to pay. Those who owe taxes can make a payment when they file the extension either by mailing a check or by several electronic payment methods, such as electronic funds withdrawals from bank accounts and credit card payments.
Members of the military serving in Iraq, Afghanistan or other combat zone localities can wait until after April 15 to file a return and pay any taxes due. Normally, the postponement is until 180 days after the service member leaves the combat zone. As a general rule, those eligible get the extra time without having to ask for it.
Nationally, IRS expects to receive 10.3 million extension requests during 2008 compared with 10 million extensions received during 2007. The IRS expects to receive almost 2 million extension requests electronically this year. In Maine, the IRS expects to receive 43,000 extension requests, with 8,500 of those filed electronically.
Taxpayers can get an automatic six-month extension of time to file their tax returns by filing Form 4868, Automatic Extension of Time to File.
It is also important for extension filers to remember that October 15 is not only the due date for their tax returns, it is also the last date on which a return can be filed that will result in an economic stimulus payment. Taxpayers who file earlier, however, will get their economic stimulus payments sooner.
Taxpayers can e-file the extension from a home computer or through a tax professional who uses e-file. Taxpayers can e-file their extensions at no cost. Some companies offer free e-filing of extensions through Free File; these companies are listed on IRS.gov.