Time running out before tax deadline

So far about 681,000 Nevadans have e-filed their federal 2010 tax returns, according to the IRS.

That figure doesn't include people who still file their taxes on paper, said IRS spokesman Raphael Tulino said, adding about 1.2 million tax returns from Nevadans are expected to be filed this year.

Tulino said more and more Americans are filing their taxes electronically. Last year about 99 million tax returns were e-filed out of the 142 million filed nationwide.

"It's the most easy, convenient way to do it," he said. "It's going up 8 percent to 10 percent a year."

Taxpayers have an extra weekend to file their taxes this year because of the District of Columbia holiday, Emancipation Day. That means taxes are due on April 18, not on April 15.

As of March 25, the IRS has received more than 82 million individual income tax returns, which is 58 percent of the 141 million returns expected this year.

The IRS has received about the same number of returns so far this year as it did at this time last year, while processing of returns is up 3 percent from the same time last year. Usually, 20 to 25 percent of all taxpayers file in the final two weeks of the tax season, according to the IRS. About 7 percent of taxpayers seek a six-month extension to file.

The IRS offered these filing tips as the final countdown begins:

- Many tax credits from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act are available. There's an expanded American Opportunity Credit of up to $2,500 for tuition, books and fees; a larger energy credit of up to $1,500 and an expanded Earned Income Tax Credit for larger families of up to $5,666. The $8,000 first-time home buyer credit is still available for people who entered into a binding contract by April 30, 2010, and went to settlement by September 30, 2010. There's also the $400 - $800 for married couples - Making Work Pay Credit.

- Consider using IRS Free File, which is brand-name software or online fillable forms, to prepare and e-file your returns at no charge. Software is available to taxpayers who earn $58,000 or less or about 70 percent of all taxpayers. And, fillable forms have no income limitations.

- File electronically to get a faster refund, have secure, encrypted transmission and a more accurate tax return. You can e-file through your tax preparer, through commercial software or through IRS Free File.

- If you cannot meet the April 18 deadline file an extension, Form 4868: Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. All taxpayers can use Free File to submit a Form 4868 for an automatic six-month extension. Free File will be available through the Oct. 17 extension deadline for late filers.

- The six-month extension is to file a return only, it is not an extension to pay taxes due. If you are unable to pay your taxes file a tax return anyway to lessen the penalties and pay all that you can. Then work with the IRS to set up a payment plan or you can go to IRS.gov and use the Online Payment Agreement Application.

- In addition to Free File, the IRS offers other free tax help services through volunteers at 12,000 sites nationwide. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites serve taxpayers whose 2010 incomes were $49,000 or less. Tax Counseling for the Elderly sites serve taxpayers who are 60 and older.

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