KANSAS CITY, MO, Oct 10, 2011 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) -- Relief continues to come from the IRS to those impacted by summer's natural disasters. Taxpayers who submitted extensions to file by April 18 have until Oct. 31 to file their tax returns if they were affected by Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee (New York and Pennsylvania) or the Texas wildfires. The postponed deadline and IRS e-filing access through Oct. 31 is only for these taxpayers. For others, the extension deadline remains Oct. 17 this year, as Oct. 15 is a Saturday.
H&R Block (NYSE: HRB) has more than 4,000 company and franchise offices open year-round and H&R Block At Home remains available as a do-it-yourself option for extension filers.
It's important to remember that an extension to file isn't an extension to pay. Taxpayers who owed federal taxes had to pay at least 90 percent of their balance due to avoid late-payment penalties. However, statistics actually debunk the myth that the majority of extension filers owe. In fact, two-thirds of taxpayers who submit extensions to file typically are due refunds, with one-third getting back $2,500 or more.
"One reason taxpayers file an extension is to ensure they have all of the necessary paperwork, which could lead to potential credits and deductions they otherwise would be missing," said Elaine Smith, master tax advisor with H&R Block. "At H&R Block, we are prepared to help all taxpayers get all the tax breaks to which they are entitled."
Taxpayers in a federal disaster area who incurred disaster-related casualty losses (e.g., damaged or lost property) may claim their losses on a tax return for the year the disaster occurred or on the prior year's return.
Taxpayers whose ZIP code identifies them as living in one of these disaster areas are automatically eligible for the additional time to file their return. Non-resident taxpayers who meet criteria to be considered affected (e.g., taxpayers who stored tax documents in affected areas) should call the IRS disaster hotline, 866-562-5227, for assistance.
For more information about filing tax returns in the "off-season," contact a local H&R Block tax professional. To find the nearest year-round H&R Block office, visit www.hrblock.com or call 800-HRBLOCK.
H&R Block provides guaranteed, income tax return preparation services through its company-owned and franchise offices, and the H&R Block At Home online and desktop solutions. For an online tutorial, join H&R Block's Get It Right Community tax forum, and visit its Facebook and Twitter pages.
H&R Block Inc. (NYSE: HRB) has prepared more than 575 million tax returns worldwide since 1955, making it the country's largest tax services provider. In fiscal 2011, H&R Block had annual revenues of $3.8 billion and prepared more than 24.5 million tax returns worldwide, including Canada and Australia. Tax return preparation services are provided in company-owned and franchise retail tax offices by more than 100,000 professional tax preparers, and through H&R Block At Home(TM) digital products. The H&R Block Bank provides affordable banking products and services, and McGladrey is a top provider of tax, accounting and wealth management services to mid-sized businesses. For more information, visit the H&R Block Online Press Center.
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SOURCE: H & R Block