The Internal Revenue Service wants to remind everyone of the impending October 15 deadline for extended tax returns. This is the first year of October 15 being the date for automatically extended federal returns. E-filing is still a viable option for extended returns. A record 58 percent of the 135.3 million returns received by the IRS so far this year have been filed electronically.
The IRS reports that more than 10.2 million taxpayers requested an automatic six-month extension this year and many of them have yet to file.
Before filing, the IRS urges taxpayers to take a moment to check out these often-overlooked tax breaks:
Telephone Excise Tax Refund
: This is a one-time refund of long-distance excise taxes available on tax year 2006 income-tax returns. The refund applies to charges billed from March 2003 through July 2006. The government offers a standard refund amount of $30 to $60, or taxpayers can base their refund request on the actual amount of tax paid. Even if a taxpayer does not normally have to file a return, Form 1040EZ-T (also available through Free File) can be used to request this refund.Earned Income Tax Credit
: Earned income of less than $38,348 in 2006 may qualify a taxpayer to claim the earned income tax credit. This credit, worth up to $4,536, is available to low and moderate-income workers and working families. A special interactive " EITC Assistant" can help taxpayers determine whether they are eligible.Savers credit
: Low-and moderate income workers who contributed to a retirement plan, such as an IRA or 401(k), may be able to take the savers credit. This credit is available in addition to any other tax savings that apply. Use Form 8880 to claim the credit.Extender tax breaks
: Several popular tax breaks were renewed too late to be included on 2006 federal income tax forms. Accordingly, many taxpayers need to follow special instructions to claim the deduction for state and local sales taxes, the tuition and fees deduction, as well as the educator expense deduction. In addition, many who qualify for the tuition and fees deduction may reap greater tax savings by, instead, claiming the Hope credit or the lifetime learning credit for a particular student.
Some taxpayers can wait until after Oct.15, to file. This includes those serving in Iraq, Afghanistan or other combat zone localities and people affected by several recent natural disasters.