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Officials: Remember Oct. 15 tax filing deadline

By Johnny Jackson

jjackson@henryherald.com

Officials with the Internal Revenue Service are reminding residents that the Oct. 15 income tax filing extension deadline is fast approaching.

About a quarter of a million Georgia taxpayers are expected to file by the fall deadline, many using electronic services, according to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Spokesman Mark Green.

"The majority of filers that have requested additional time to file are individuals [who are] waiting on supporting documents, sick or shut in, out of the country or away at school," Green said.

As of Tuesday, he noted, the IRS had received 96 million returns filed electronically nationwide, with about three million returns filed electronically by Georgians. A projected 264,800 Georgians, of the 9.6 million late taxpayers nationally, are expected to file during the extension deadline period which ends on Oct. 15.

Green expects most taxpayers will continue to file electronically leading up to the deadline, as more than 75 percent of returns already filed were done electronically. He added that most taxpayers, who are filing late, will be eligible for the same credits or deductions, offered prior to the April 15, filing deadline.

The IRS spokesman said taxpayers should be aware of the different credits and deductions available to them. They include the $250 Educator Expense deduction, mortgage debt relief, charitable contributions, unemployment compensation, Credit for Energy-Saving Home Improvements, deductions for new vehicle purchases, the First-Time Homebuyers Credit, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and the American Opportunity Credit, among other credits and deductions.

The American Opportunity Credit, for example, will be available through December, added Green. The credit modifies an existing credit for tax years 2009 and 2010, making it available to a broader range of taxpayers.

"The American Opportunity Credit helps taxpayers paying college expenses with an increase in the maximum credit allowed while also expanding to include costs for 'course materials,'" Green said. "This means that books, supplies and equipment needed for coursework are now allowable.

"Many of those eligible will qualify for the maximum annual credit of $2,500 per student," he continued. "This tax credit is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 and is available through Dec. 31, 2010."

To learn more about the American Opportunity Credit and other credits and deductions still available before the Oct. 15 filing deadline, visit the IRS web site at www.IRS.gov.