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Extended Tax Returns Due! Unless...Storms

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Hurricane Matthew is a memory for most of us, but not for those dealing with the damage it caused. And as I write this, the Pacific Northwest is bracing for "The Big Kahuna." For those most affected by the storms, there is some good news from the IRS: Extended filing and, in some cases, extended payment dates. However, if you weren't in one of the affected areas and you filed an extension, then your tax return is due this Monday, October 17.

If you used a Tax Pro to file your extension, they are likely ready to file your return once they hear from you and verify they have everything needed. If you still haven't given them all the correct information, your return must still be filed - you will simply need to file an amended return once you obtain any missing or corrected items.

If you entered your data in a self-prep tax program and filed your own extension, review your entries and make sure there is nothing to change or add. Most tax software is ready to e-file your return, based on your earlier entries. If you aren't going to file electronically, check the IRS website for where to file and mail your return so it is postmarked October 17, 2016. You must sign and date your return, and if filing jointly, your spouse must do the same. Don't forget to attach all required documents, such as Forms W-2, to your return. It's a good idea to make a copy of your entire, completed, signed return, including all attached documents, to keep with your records.

If you live in or have a business in one of the areas that was severely affected, or volunteer with an organization that is providing relief efforts, you may be eligible for an extension of time to file and pay taxes due. The most recent IRS announcement relates to certain counties in North Carolina that were granted tax relief because of Hurricane Matthew. Late last month, the IRS made a similar announcement regarding parts of Florida because of Hurricane Hermine, and in August, relief was granted to Louisiana and West Virginia.

For individual taxpayers with taxes due in April 2016, the payment was due with all extension applications. However, this tax relief does not provide an extension of time for the payment of 2015 individual taxes due. To see if you are eligible and get the new due dates, review the IRS page Tax Relief in Disaster Situations and review the appropriate news release for your area. Remember if you have uninsured disaster losses for which you paid out-of-pocket, you have some options. You can file your 2015 tax return to claim the loss now. Or, if you already filed your return, you either can amend it or wait until you file your 2016 tax return.

If you aren't sure which option is best or you haven't even started your return, speak to a Tax Pro - many have extended hours this weekend and through Monday.