1.9 million Ohioans yet to file returns

Taxpayers can use Form 4868 to apply for 6-month extension


With just a week to go before the traditional April 15 deadline, a third of Ohio’s taxpayers still have not filed their federal tax returns.

As of last Friday, about 3.6 million Ohio taxpayers had filed their 2013 tax returns, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

The federal agency is expecting 5.5 million tax returns to be filed by Ohioans this tax season, meaning about 1.9 million are still holding back for whatever reasons.

“A lot of people do wait until the end. The most recent year shows that 8 percent filed for an extension at the deadline,” said Jenny Jenkins, an Internal Revenue Service spokesman in Columbus.

“Generally, a quarter to a third of taxpayers are typically filing in the last week. Also, the average refund goes down the closer to the deadline we get as you might expect,” Ms. Jenkins said.

The IRS believes the delay in filing could be something as simple as waiting for a necessary document to submit with a tax return. For others, it could be the tax professional they hired this year was swamped and hasn’t completed their return just yet.

The IRS estimates that nearly 2 million Ohio taxpayers have engaged the services of a paid tax preparer to calculate their returns this tax season, with an additional 1.63 million taxpayers using computer software to calculate their own.

And 123,000 Ohio taxpayers qualified to use free tax software and filed their taxes that way.

Nationally, the IRS expects to receive more than 148 million individual tax returns this year.

Through March 28, a total of 82 million returns had been filed, with 73.7 million, 91 percent of all returns, filed electronically. Mailed-in paper tax returns were filed by 8.3 million.

The IRS also said that through March 28 it had sent out just more than 73 million tax refunds totaling $206.7 billion. The average refund was $2,831, the IRS said.

With the deadline drawing near, Ms. Jenkins said the federal tax agency was encouraging taxpayers who are in doubt about whether they can get their return in on time to file for a six-month extension using Form 4868.

“It’s important to remember that your tax bill is still due on April 15. You can’t get an extension to pay, but you can get one to file your return,” she said.

Taxpayers are expected to estimate what they owe and pay it by April 15. A taxpayer can be charged interest on any amount not paid by the deadline and could owe a penalty for not paying on time.

“If you can’t pay all of what you owe, there are options to set up a payment plan at the online Web site [www.irs.gov],” Ms. Jenkins said.

Contact Jon Chavez at: jchavez@theblade.com or 419-724-6128.