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April 14, 2009

Missouri Department of Revenue Offers Suggestions for Last-Minute Filers

With the deadline to file individual income tax returns just hours away, the Missouri Department of Revenue suggests some tips for last-minute filers.

An estimated 3 million Missouri taxpayers are expected to file individual income tax returns and property tax credit applications by the deadline of Wednesday, April 15.

“Even though the deadline is very close, I urge people to take their time and make sure their tax returns are accurate before they file them,” said Karen King Mitchell, director of the department.  “An incomplete or inaccurate return can slow down the processing of the return and cause delays for citizens.”

Mitchell advised Missouri citizens to avoid the most common mistakes that plague tax return filers.  One common mistake is not signing the return.  Another is not including necessary documentation like W-2 forms, interest/dividend statements from financial institutions, the MO-A form if claiming itemized deductions, or a copy of a taxpayer’s federal tax return.

Another thing to double check is entering the correct standard deduction based on the filing status.  People who are blind, 100 percent disabled or 65 or older should note their status on the state return because it qualifies them for a larger standard deduction.

If a taxpayer intends to fill out paper tax return forms and mail a return, Mitchell says not to assume that all local post offices will be open late on April 15 to accept returns.  Although some post offices offer this service, many do not.  Mitchell advises people to call their local post office and ask about their hours of operation to make sure they will be open late enough to accommodate the mailing of a return on April 15.  Mailed tax returns must be postmarked no later than April 15 to meet the deadline.

Missouri grants an automatic extension of time to file if you filed for a federal extension and don’t expect to owe a tax payment to the state.  This extension is good for six months (or until Oct. 15) for individual income taxpayers.  An extension of time to file an income tax return does not extend the time for payment of any taxes that are due.  Citizens might have to pay penalties even if they file an extension but do not pay the tax in full by the due date. A state extension form (the MO-60) and other guidelines on extensions are available at http://dor.mo.gov/forms/MO-60.pdf.  The federal extension form is Form 4868, and it is available at www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f4868.pdf.

Copies of tax return forms and answers to common questions about tax returns are available at the Department of Revenue’s tax website, http://www.dor.mo.gov/personal/ and the Internal Revenue Service website, www.irs.gov.  The Department of Revenue also has seven assistance centers throughout the state that people can visit in person, call or e-mail to get answers to questions.  Contact information for the centers can be accessed on the Internet at http://dor.mo.gov/contact/assistance.php.  Operating hours for all of the offices through the month of April are 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Individuals with speech or hearing impairments can call TDD 1-800-735-2966.

“Fill-in forms” are also available on the Department of Revenue website at http://dor.mo.gov/forms/ and instructions on how to use these “2D Barcode” forms are available on the department’s website at http://dor.mo.gov/faq/personal/2dbarcode.php.  These forms are filled out on a computer, but are then printed out by the taxpayer and mailed to the department.