Each year some 10 million taxpayers request an extension of time to file their tax returns, by the deadline Oct. 15.
This year, however, the deadline carries added significance. It’s the last day for Americans to file a return and receive a tax rebate in 2008.
The IRS is hoping that 4.3 million retirees and disabled veterans, who normally wouldn’t be required to file a tax return, will also file by Oct. 15 to get a rebate, or economic stimulus payment.
“Don’t let the economic stimulus payment pass you by,” said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman. “If you want the payment this year, you should file by Oct. 15.
“We recognize that there may be older Americans and disabled veterans who still have not filed for their stimulus payment. If you know of a friend, neighbor or family members who may be in that situation, please give them a hand if they need it.”
The rebates are worth as much as $600 per individual, $1,200 for married couple and $300 for each qualifying child. The only way to get a rebate is to file a tax return.
The IRS said on Sept. 23 that it had received returns from 80 percent of the Social Security and Veterans Affairs beneficiaries deemed eligible.
The remaining 20 percent have a variety of ways to file a return at no charge. They can file a simple 1040A by mail or seek help at a local IRS office.
TurboTax also offers free online tax preparation software for these filers.
By the end of August, the IRS had distributed rebate checks worth $93 billion to nearly 115 million individuals and families. Those who miss out on getting a rebate this year will have a second chance when they file their 2008 tax returns – they just won’t get their money until 2009.
As for the 10 million taxpayers who requested an extension until Oct. 15, they too could be eligible for the rebate.
Taxpayers who request an extension must still pay any taxes they owe by April 15. The extension gives them until Oct. 15 to file their returns and avoid late penalties. With the rebates, some of them have additional incentive to hit the deadline.