Tax extensions allowed for tornado victims

By Casey Peacock: Freedom Newspapers

Income tax procrastinators have two extra days to file taxes this year, as the traditional April 15 deadline falls on Sunday. The 2006 tax deadline is April 17.

Curry and Quay County residents affected by the March 23 tornado also catch a break, according to a press release from the Internal Revenue Service. The deadline for those impacted by the tornado to file is June 1.

Taxpayers who have incurred a loss from the recent tornado will be able to file the loss on their 2006 returns, according to Judy Benitscheck, owner of Jackson Hewitt tax service offices in Portales and Clovis.

For those not quite prepared to file, Internal Revenue Service has provisions for filing for an extension, which can help to avoid paying penalty fees.

By filing an extension, a taxpayer has more time to get paperwork in order, though they will have pay the estimated amount that they may owe, according to Clovis CPA John Schonberger.

“You have to have a payment before you are approved for the extension,” Schonberger said.

The IRS is also offering a one-time tax credit for long distance phone service — on land lines and cell phones. The standard deduction is $30 to $60. The refund is due to a recent federal court decision finding that federal excise taxes should not apply to long-distance or bundle phone service.