AUGUSTA -- With the April 15 tax deadline two weeks away, here's seven tips for busy Mainers from the Internal Revenue Service.
"Don't miss out on the new Economic Stimulus Payment. Starting in May, the Treasury will begin sending economic stimulus payments to more than 130 million households. To receive a payment, taxpayers must have a valid Social Security number, $3,000 of qualifying income and file a 2007 federal tax return. IRS will take care of the rest. Millions of retirees, disabled veterans and low-wage workers who usually are exempt from filing a tax return must do so this year in order to receive a stimulus payment," Internal Revenue Service Spokesperson Peggy Riley said. Go the Economic Stimulus Payments Information Center on www.irs.gov for details.
More than 4,700 Maine taxpayers who failed to file an income tax return for 2004 are missing out on more than $4 million in unclaimed refunds. To collect the money, they must file their 2004 returns with the IRS no later than April 15, 2008. When a return was not filed, the law provides most taxpayers with just a three-year window of opportunity for claiming a refund. Half of those who could claim refunds would receive more than $533.
Hundreds of free IRS volunteer tax help sites are now open to assist taxpayers in preparing basic tax returns. Tax volunteers can be found at convenient neighborhood sites - such as libraries, senior centers, town halls or college campuses. For the nearest volunteer site, call 211 or 311 (where available) or the IRS at (800) 906-9887.
"Think you've found the secret formula to escape your taxes? Not likely. Don't fall prey to tax scams," Riley said. "Look on IRS.gov for the "Dirty Dozen" tax scam list which includes, Phishing, Tax Rebate Scams, Frivolous Arguments, Zero Wages, and Return Preparer Fraud."
"Free File allows taxpayers earning $54,000 or less to e-file their tax returns for free on IRS.gov," Riley said. E-file is fast, accurate, dependable, and safe. IRS uses the most secure technology available to safeguard your personal information. More than half a billion federal tax returns have been e-filed. Last year nearly 80 million returns (57%) were e-filed.
"Workers with low incomes should review their eligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit to see if they qualify for tax relief. Last year, more than 22.4 million taxpayers collected more than $43.7 billion in EITC payments. As many as 20 to 25 percent of Americans who qualify for the credit do not claim it which could be as much as $4716. Use Free File, a Volunteer tax help site or the EITC Assistant on IRS.gov to get help to claim EITC," Riley said.
"If you're just too busy to make the April 15 deadline, make sure to get a six-month extension (till October 15) to file by completing a Form 4868, or by e-filing using a personal computer or a tax professional, or by paying part or all of the estimated tax due using a credit card. Make sure to include a payment for the amount of taxes owed," she said.