IRS reminder: Oct. 17 deadline approaching for extension filers

Millions of taxpayers ask for an extra six months to file their taxes every year.

If you are one of them, you should know that because Oct. 15 falls on a Saturday, Oct. 17 is the extension deadline for 2016.

If you have not yet filed your return, here are some things to keep in mind about the extension deadline and your taxes:

l Try IRS Free File or e-file.

You can still e-file your tax return for free through IRS Free File. The program is available only on IRS.gov through Oct. 17.

l Use direct deposit.

If you are due a refund, you can combine direct deposit and e-file. Eight of 10 taxpayers who get a refund choose direct deposit, the IRS reported.

l Use IRS online payment options.

If you owe taxes, the best way to pay them, according to the IRS, is with IRS direct pay. There are also other online payment options. Check them out by clicking on the “Payments” tab on the IRS.gov home page.

l Refunds.

As you prepare to file your 2015 return, keep in mind next year’s taxes. The IRS is urging taxpayers to check their tax withholding as the year winds down. New factors may delay tax refunds in 2017. For more on what you can do now, see the IRS’ Aug. 31 news release.

l Don’t overlook tax benefits.

Be sure to claim all the tax breaks you are entitled to. These may include the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Saver’s Credit. The American Opportunity Tax Credit can help offset college costs.

l Keep a copy of your return.

Be sure to keep a copy of your tax return and supporting documents for at least three years. Among other things, this will make filing next year’s return easier. When you e-file your 2016 return, for example, you will often need the adjusted gross income (AGI) amount from your 2015 return.

l File on time.

If you owe taxes, file on time to avoid a potential late filing penalty. If you owe and can’t pay all of your taxes, pay as much as you can to reduce interest and penalties for late payment. You might also consider an installment agreement where you can pay over time.

l More time for the military.

Military members and those serving in a combat zone generally get more time to file. If this applies to you, you typically have until at least 180 days after you leave the combat zone to both file returns and pay any taxes due.

l More time in disaster areas.

If you have an extension and live or work in a disaster area, you often have more time to file. Currently, taxpayers in parts of Louisiana and West Virginia have additional extensions beyond Oct. 17. See the disaster relief page on IRS.gov for details.

l Try Easy-to-Use Tools on IRS.gov.

Use the EITC Assistant to see if you’re eligible for the credit or the Interactive Tax Assistant tool to get answers to common tax questions. the IRS Tax Map gives you a single point to get tax law information by subject.

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