Time is almost up for East Valley residents who have yet to file their 2008 federal and state income tax returns.
Thursday is the due date for individuals who requested the automatic, 60-day extension to file their tax returns. The federal extension also applies to state income tax returns.
Of the 2.8 million returns expected in Arizona, 221,700 Arizonans requested the extension, said Bill Brunson, Internal Revenue Service spokesman in Phoenix.
IRS personnel are available to answer questions from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday via telephone, at 1-800-829-1040. Also, help is available at the agency's Web site, www.irs.gov.
"Some of those individuals have already filed their tax return, but there is going to be some who have not, and we're making a gentle reminder," Brunson said. "Individuals still have until midnight Oct. 15 to file their 2008 tax return either electronically or submit a paper return. Preferably, they would file electronically because it's the most efficient and accurate way to file a tax return."
Each year, the number of filers in Arizona increases, and therefore the number of Arizonans requesting the extension also rises, Brunson said. The extension was for filing a return, not paying any taxes owed, he said.
"This is the final extension date to submit the paperwork," he said. "Those individuals who have balance due returns, they would incur a late-payment penalty generally speaking as of April 16. It's a nominal amount, one-half of 1 percent. When they incur a late filing penalty and a late paying penalty, then those two penalties together make up 5 percent (of the outstanding balance) ... so it's considerably more."
Until midnight Oct. 15, filers can visit the agency's Web site and click on "Free File" to file their returns electronically at no charge, Brunson said.
"After that point in time, the electronically filed tax returns for 2008 cannot be submitted, but they can still submit paper returns after Oct. 15," he said.
Taxpayers who haven't filed and are owed a refund must file within three years in order to receive that refund, Brunson said.