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Federal tax returns: IRS deadline is Monday

By Staff | Apr 13, 2013

People have only three days to file their tax returns or file for an extension.

April 15 is the last day taxpayers can file their 2012 tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service. Online filers must transmit their returns – hit the send button – by midnight; mailed ones must be postmarked by midnight.

The Cape Coral Central Post Office will stay open until 6:30 p.m. Monday, while the Cape Coral South Post Office will remain open until 5:30 p.m.

The Central Post Office also offers a self-service kiosk.

Mail deposited up to midnight in the blue collection boxes at the Fort Myers Processing and Distribution Center will receive an April 15 postmark.

“Timely mailed is timely filed,” Mike Dobzinski, Florida’s IRS spokesman, said.

Typically, 20 percent to 25 percent of taxpayers file within the last two weeks. This year, Floridians are expected to file 10 million tax returns.

“In Florida, we expect about 870,000 extensions to be filed,” he said.

To file for an extension, fill out Form 4868. As with tax returns, the form can be filed online or mailed and it must be received by midnight Monday.

“It’s an automatic six-month extension to Oct. 15,” Dobzinski said.

“It’s an extension of time to file, not to pay,” he added.

It is suggested that those who will owe money to the IRS include some payment that will go toward their debt. It is free to file for an extension.

Options exist for people who are ready to file but are unable to pay.

“There are payment plans available, so check our Web site for those,” Dobzinski said.

The IRS can be found online at: www.irs.gov.

Officials recommend electronic filing as the best method to use.

“It’s faster. It’s convenient. It’s safe,” he said. “It’s virtually error-free.”

The IRS even offers a free filing service on its site for eligible taxpayers. Typically, the service applies to households with incomes of $57,000 or less.

“There are a number of free filing options,” Dobzinski said.

If mailing in a return, double check the address of where it is going.

Dobzinski offered last-minute tax filers several other tips.

“Make sure your calculations are correct and you use the correct tax table,” he said. “Make sure you have all the correct Social Security numbers.”

When choosing direct deposit for a refund, double check the account and routing number. For a joint return, make sure both spouses signed it.

“Keep a copy for your records,” Dobzinski said.

He cited incorrect or missing Social Security numbers, an incorrect tax entered based on income and filing status, computation errors and the wrong placement of withholding estimated tax payments as common mistakes.

“If they’re expecting a refund, the refund processing time should be within 21 days or less,” Dobzinski said.

Filers can follow the process online by using the IRS’s Web site.

“We advise you check that only once a day because it only gets updated once a day,” he said.

A tax return can have errors on it that would cause a refund to be delayed. People should wait a few weeks before calling the IRS about a missing refund.

When is comes to selecting a tax preparer, choose carefully.

“We’re getting complaints of bogus tax preparers,” Dobzinski said, adding that reports have specifically come from the Fort Myers metro area.

“Shy away from preparers who charge exorbitant fees, guarantee a certain amount of refund, do not give you a copy of your return, don’t sign the return, don’t ask for documentation of items that you put on your return,” he said.

For example, if you have one child and the tax preparer suggests that you report you have three, or if they recommend changing your income, in order to receive a bigger tax credit, that person is not a legitimate tax preparer.

“Most preparers are legitimate, but there are some that are not,” Dobzinski said. “If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.”

He also warned tax filers to be on the lookout for “phishing” e-mails. Taxpayers have reported getting IRS e-mails stating they can receive their refund quicker by paying a fee, clicking a link or providing information.

“The IRS does not send out e-mails to the taxpayers,” Dobzinski said.

“You don’t have to pay extra to get a refund,” he added.

The biggest scam tipoff – the use of the site: www.irs.com.

The IRS’s official Web site is: www.irs.gov.

“The language and grammar is very poor,” Dobzinski said, adding that the links in an e-mail “may have malware that can infect your computer.”

If you get an e-mail from the IRS, forward it to phishing@irs.gov.

The Cape Coral Central Post Office is at 1030 S.E. Ninth Ave., and the Cape Coral South Post Office is at 4722 S.E. 17th Ave. The Fort Myers Processing and Distribution Center is located at 14080 Jetport Loop Road in Fort Myers.