You're just hours away from having to file your tax return – or to ask Uncle Sam for more time to get your paperwork in.
Baltimore residents on Thursday can drop by the IRS office at 31 Hopkins Plaza in downtown, where agency officials will be outside from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. to receive your paper tax returns or to provide you with Form 4868 to get an automatic six-month extension. You also can file a return electronically – or to ask for an extension – for free through the IRS Free File program at irs.gov if your adjusted gross income doesn't exceed $57,000.
Remember, though, that the extension gives you more time to file paperwork, not to pay. You'll still need to pay your anticipated tax liability by the end of Thursday.
The number of refunds was down 4.6 percent from a year ago, according to early April figures, the latest available from the IRS. But taxpayers who got refunds received more money than they did last year. The average refund was $2,960 – up more than 9 percent from a year ago.
Thank some of the credits and deductions from last year's economic stimulus package for the bigger refunds. And speaking of tax breaks, don't forget these:
• Energy credit worth 30 percent of the cost — for a maximum of $1,500 — of adding insulation and energy-efficient doors and windows to a primary residence
•American Opportunity Tax Credit worth up to $2,500 for tuition and other higher ed costs.
•The Making Work Pay credit worth up to $400 for singles; $800 for married couples. Make sure you fill out Schedule M to claim the credit, even if you already got the money in your paycheck last year.
• The first $2,400 of unemployment benefits last year is not subject to income tax.