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Tax deadline extended to April 17, IRS announces

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WASHINGTON -- Taxpayers will get two extra days to get their income tax returns filed this year.

The IRS announced this week that the deadline is April 17, because April 15 falls on a Sunday and Monday is Emancipation Day.

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Emancipation Day is a holiday observed in the District of Columbia, and according to federal law, District of Columbia holidays impact tax deadlines in the same way that federal holidays do.

As a result, all taxpayers will have two extra days to file this year, according to Carrie Resch, with the IRS office in Minneapolis, which covers Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.

Taxpayers who need even more time and need to request an extension will have until Oct. 15 to file their 2011 tax returns.

The IRS expects to receive more than 144 million individual tax returns this year, with most of those being filed by the April 17 deadline.

Resch encourages taxpayers to e-file as it is the best way to ensure accurate tax returns and get faster refunds. The IRS will begin accepting e-file and Free File returns on Tuesday.

IRS Free File provides options for free brand-name tax software or online fillable forms plus free electronic filing.

Everyone can use Free File to prepare a federal tax return. Taxpayers who make $57,000 or less can choose from approximately 20 commercial software providers. There's no income limit for Free File Fillable Forms, the electronic version of IRS paper forms, which also includes free e-filing, Resch said.

Resch said many answers to questions about filing tax returns can be found by visiting the improved IRS website at IRS.gov.

The IRS has updated the front page of the IRS website to make it easier for taxpayers to get key forms, information and file tax returns. The front page also has links to taxpayer-friendly videos on the IRS YouTube channel. More improvements are planned for IRS.gov in the months ahead

Last year, the IRS unveiled IRS2Go, its first smartphone application that lets taxpayers check on the status of their tax refund and obtain helpful tax information. The IRS reminds Apple users that they can download the free IRS2Go application by visiting the Apple App Store and Android users can visit the Android Marketplace to download the free IRS2Go app.

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