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IRS: Tax Extension Deadline is Oct. 15

If you are asked for a six-month extension to file or pay your income taxes, the deadline is upon you—again.

Nearly quarter of a million Virginia residents asked for a tax filing extension, and now have just one full week left before the deadline to finish their returns and submit them to the Internal Revenue Service.

It seems like a lifetime ago, but it was only this spring when many rushed to file for a six-month extension, giving them until Oct. 15 to get their tax returns prepared or their taxes paid.

About 243,000 Virginians have requested an extension, said Mark Hanson, a North Carolina-based IRS spokesman.

A total of 11 million people in the U.S. requested an automatic six-month extension, but many of them have yet to file, he added.

Most people will have to pay by the Oct. 15 deadline—in 10 days—but a few people, such as military members such as those serving in combat zones have at least 180 days from thedate they leave the zone to file and pay any taxes due, according information from the IRS.

People living in Mississippi and Louisiana who were affected by Hurricane Issac have until Jan. 11 to file and pay.

IRS officials recommend electronic filing, because it is fast, easy and secure, Hanson said. Fewer mistakes are made during electronic or e-filing, the IRS verifies receipt of the return and the taxpayer often receives his or her tax return sooner, he added. 

Oct. 15 is also the last day for unemployed workers who filed a Form 1127-A to pay their taxes.

There are four ways to pay:

1. Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS),

2. Electronic funds withdrawal

3. Credit or debit card

4. Check or money orders made payable to the U.S. Treasury

Can't pay the money you owe? IRS officials say to still file the income tax returns to avoid late-filing penalties, which are about 5 percent a month. Filing, but not paying your taxes will still result in interest and late payment penalties.

There is help for those who can’t pay their taxes, Hanson said.

There are relief programs, including some newly-expanded ones like the government’s Fresh Start initiative.

People who owe $50,000 total in taxes, penalties and interest can use the Online Payment Agreement to set up a monthly payment agreement for up to six years. They can also request a short-term extension to pay, even if they haven’t received an IRS notice.

Request a payment agreement by downloading Form 9465-FS from the website IRS.gov and mailing it in with a tax return, notice or bill.

Some taxpayers have the option of an offer-in-compromise, which is an agreement between a taxpayer and the IRS that settles the taxpayer’s tax liabilities for less than the full amount that’s owed.

In most cases, the IRS won’t accept such a compromise if the taxpayer can pay the full amount. Officials make a decision about the compromise by looking at the taxpayers' income, total assets and their ability to pay.

For more information about payments, filing incomes taxes, extensions and deadlines, visit IRS.gov.

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