Federal tax deadlines falling on or after Feb. 29 and before May 31 automatically are extended until May 31 for people who live, own a business or keep their tax records in the following counties:
Bradley, Claiborne, Cumberland, DeKalb, Hamilton, Jackson, McMinn, Monroe, Overton, Polk
Trained Internal Revenue Service volunteers will be available to freely e-file returns for most taxpayers with household income below $50,000:
• Today from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Urban League of Greater Chattanooga at 730 ML King Blvd. For more information, call 423-756-1762.
• April 23 and 30 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. by appointment at the Northside Neighborhood House at 211 Minor St. For an appointment, call 423-267-2217.
TAXES BY THE NUMBERS
National tax return figures through March 30:
• 91 million - total returns filed, up 1.5 percent from the same time a year ago
• 80 million - Number of electronic returns filed, up 4 percent from a year ago
• 30.6 million - Number of self-prepared returns, up 9 precent from a year ago
• $75.3 million - Refunds issued, up 0.1 percent from a year ago
• $2,826 - Average tax refund, down 3.3 percent from a year ago
Source: Internal Revenue Service
Chad Chastain's Liberty Tax offices will stay open till midnight tonight, and on the nights leading up to May 31 they'll do it all over again.
This tax season is a special one for area tax preparers. Hamilton, Bradley, Polk and several other Tennessee counties were designated as disaster zones following storms earlier this year, pushing the federal tax filing deadline back to May 31 for those areas.
"It's going to extend the season a little bit for us. It's one of those unknowns," Chastain said. "This is our first time going through this."
Chastain still expects plenty of procrastinators to come into his eight area offices today. Most people aren't aware of the deadline extension, he said. Why close early if customers are pounding at the doors?
For once, his preparers will be able to give some good news to those who come in right before the usual deadline and end up owing the feds money.
"You've got 45 days, a nice little gift from the government," he said. "The even better news is you don't have to pay it till the end of May."
Nationally, most taxpayers have received money back this year. About 91 million returns were filed through March 30, up 1.5 percent over last year. About $75.3 million has been issued in refunds, with the average check hitting $2,826.
More returns could be coming. Several people who live or own businesses in storm-affected counties likely needed the tax deadline extension to gather all their necessary paperwork.
Trained volunteers will be available to help those still needing to file. The Northside Neighborhood House will have a preparer on hand April 23 and 30, offering free preparation and e-filings for most people with a household income below $50,000.
"It's a pain to get your things together," said Peggy Buchanan, one of the volunteers. "The people we do them for are very appreciative. It's very rewarding."
Preparations take about 45 minutes and are by appointment only. Appointments can be made by calling 423-267-2217.
Contact Carey O'Neil at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6525. Follow him at twitter.com/careyoneil.