Five Things to Know About Tax Extension Filing

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As the tax extension trend grows, H&R Block offers five tax tips and access to more than 12,000 offices, tax cut software and online filing.

Taxpayers are increasingly buying time by filing for an extension. As the April 17 tax deadline looms, the IRS expects at least 10 million taxpayers to file extensions this year.

Reasons for seeking an extension vary. Many taxpayers are intimidated by the ever-growing complexity of the tax code. Others are held up by late or missing documents. Still others face major life changes, such as a divorce, a move or a new job, that make timely filing more difficult. Information about these and other tax topics can be found at http://www.nationaltaxadvice.com.

To avoid penalties, interest and other headaches, taxpayers who need to file an extension should pay close attention to IRS rules. Extensions take time and preparation to calculate. However, with assistance from a tax professional, online programs or software products, extensions can be completed easily and filed correctly, buying the time needed to complete the tax return.

According to H&R Block, the important facts to remember when considering an extension include:

1. Notify the IRS -- If a taxpayer files an extension with the IRS (Form 4868) he or she will have until Oct. 16 to complete their tax return. (Taxpayers living and working outside the US have an automatic two-month extension to June 15. They can request an additional 4-month extension by filing Form 4868.)

Preparing Form 4868 isn’t always easy, so the taxpayer should plan ahead. Using a tax professional or a digital solution (online or software) may simplify the task. They may also visit http://www.hrblock.com to file an extension electronically or to find the nearest year-round H&R Block office.

2. File later, pay now -- The extension to file will not give taxpayers more time to pay their tax bill. Taxpayers should estimate their tax liability and pay as much as they can by April 17. Underpayments are subject to penalties and interest.

3. Use your credit card -- The IRS accepts most major credit cards, so taxpayers can charge their taxes owed as part of the extension. There is no IRS fee for credit card payments, although card processors may charge a convenience fee. Tax payments paid by credit or debit card are processed by LINK2GOV Corp., an IRS approved payment processor.

When H&R Block clients visit an office to file their tax return and find they have a balance due, the standard card-company convenience fee is eliminated if they choose to pay by a Visa® check card. If clients choose to pay with a Visa credit card, the standard fee is reduced to 1.99 percent. To receive this special Visa Credit Card offer, payment must be made in the tax office through http://www.pay1040.com/block.

Similar offers apply for clients who purchase and use H&R Block’s TaxCut Online program. The convenience fees are eliminated for those who pay a balance due with a Visa check card. The convenience fee is reduced to 1.99 percent for TaxCut Online clients who use a Visa credit card.

Other offers apply for TaxCut Online clients who wish to pay their balances by using a MasterCard. If they use a MasterCard debit card, the 2.49 percent convenience fee is eliminated. If using a MasterCard credit card, the taxpayer will receive a convenience fee rebate on the first $350 of the tax payment. The MasterCard offers are available to H&R Block’s TaxCut Online clients only. More information about the special offers is available at http://www.hrblock.com/goto/taxpayment.

4. Year-round Tax Professionals -- Using a tax professional to complete a late return can save the taxpayer time and may save them money by identifying deductions or credits. More than 4,000 H&R Block offices nationwide are open year-round.

5. File if you can, even if you can’t pay -- If taxpayers complete their returns but are unable to pay the tax due in full, they should file their returns by April 17, and submit with as much of the tax due as possible. The IRS will send the taxpayer a bill or notice for the balance due. Installment agreements are another option. The IRS charges a $43 fee to set up an installment agreement. It will also charge interest and, sometimes, penalties on the unpaid balance.

If filed by April 17, a paper extension can be filed via H&R Block TaxCut® software for free or electronically for $12.95. Users of TaxCut Online can file electronically for $19.95 and receive a $10.00 discount on TaxCut Premium or TaxCut Signature if the federal tax preparation is paid at the same time as the extension.

Features of H&R Block’s TaxCut Software and TaxCut Online extension solutions include a simple calculator that quickly estimates taxpayers’ refunds or tax liability, extensive glossaries, advice and help, and an electronic receipt proving that the IRS received the e-filed extension application.

Extensions can also be filed at any of the more than 12,000 H&R Block offices for $49.95 with the assistance of a tax professional.

Whether taxpayers file an extension via software or online, or through one of our offices, H&R Block ensures that the process is completed quickly and accurately.

For more tax advice, visit http://www.nationaltaxadvice.com.

**All taxpayers living in Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont and the District of Columbia have until April 18, 2006 to file their returns and pay any taxes due, in accordance with the Patriot’s Day state holiday. (IRS Notice 2006-23)

For more information contact: 816.932.4912

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