Delayed deadline for filing tax returns this year — Tuesday 4/18

SHARE Delayed deadline for filing tax returns this year — Tuesday 4/18

Hey, procrastinators, don’t panic if you haven’t filed your income-tax return yet. The IRS is giving you a reprieve till Tuesday.

The usual April 15 deadline fell this year on Saturday — which normally would push the deadline to Monday.

But Monday is a holiday in the District of Columbia —Emancipation Day, marking the day in 1862 when 3,100 slaves living in Washington were freed.

So, by law, the filing deadline was extended until Tuesday.

Illinois and all of the other states that usually have an April 15 deadline have delayed their filing date as well.

The Internal Revenue Service says it already has processed 101 million individual returns and issued $229 billion in refunds. The average refund: $2,851.

If the extra three days isn’t enough, taxpayers can request an automatic six-month extension on filing an income-tax return. But there is no extension for paying the taxes you owe, which are still due Tuesday.

As last-minute filers rush to finish their taxes, their chances of getting audited have rarely been lower. The number of people audited by the IRS in 2016 dropped for the sixth straight year, to just over 1 million. The last time so few people were audited was 2004.

The IRS blames budget cuts. Money for the agency shrank from $12.2 billion in 2010 to $11.2 billion last year. Over that period, the agency has lost more than 17,000 employees, including nearly 7,000 enforcement agents. About 80,000 people work for the IRS.

In 2016, the number of people audited by the IRS dropped by 16 percent from the year before. Just 0.7 percent of individuals were audited, either in person or by mail — the lowest audit rate since 2003.

The higher your income, the more likely you are to be audited. The IRS audited 1.7 percent of returns reporting more than $200,000 in income and 5.8 percent of returns that reported income over $1 million. But both those audit rates were steep declines from the year before.

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