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Extended tax-filing deadline is today

By Johnny Jackson

jjackson@henryherald.com

Today marks another record year for Georgia taxpayers, according to Internal Revenue Service Spokesman Mark Green.

Green expects the number of Georgia taxpayers filing returns electronically this year will top 3.2 million, surpassing last year's record of 3 million. Today is the extended filing deadline, and the last day taxpayers will be able to file this year's tax returns electronically.

The number of Georgians filing electronically is exponentially more than when the service first became available, according to the IRS official.

Green said more than 85 percent of those filing returns in Georgia, are filing electronically this year. That amounts to more than 3.1 million electronic returns, as of Oct. 11.

In 1990, he said, only a few hundred tax preparers filed electronically as a part of a pilot, electronic-filing program which began in 1986. He said the pilot program was created "to improve the overall tax compliance system by streamlining and creating a paperless system."

Green joined the program as its assistant project coordinator in 1989. Then, he recalled, there were about 100 Georgia tax preparers taking part in the electronic-filing program.

"Georgia has been one of the front-runners nationwide in adopting the program," he said. "Back in 1990, we opened it up to all government employees and their families, and had about 300 employees take part in the program. And that grew to more than 2,700 employees by 1992. In 1994, it skyrocketed."

Green said the IRS is roughly 90 percent within its goal of an estimated 4 million returns, paper and electronic, filed by the Oct. 15, extended deadline. He anticipates 264,800 Georgians will file under the extended deadline.

"After midnight, electronic returns will not be available until January 2011," Green said. "However, individuals who missed the extended due date may still file a paper document."

The IRS official said the majority of filers that have requested additional time to file are individuals waiting on supporting documents, sick or shut in, and those who are out of the country, or away at school.

Green advises taxpayers, who have not filed returns, to do so, today, to avoid possible penalties and incurred interest.

He also noted that today is the deadline for small, non-profit organizations that have not filed the necessary paperwork within the last three years to retain their tax-exempt status. To learn more, visit the IRS web site at www.IRS.gov.