For most of us tax season is blissfully finished. So what are Americans thinking about when it comes to their refunds? Investment firm TD Ameritrade conducted a survey and found out that the majority of Americans who will get a check from Uncle Sam plan on paying down debt, saving the money or investing it this year. About 75 percent of taxpayers are anticipating a refund check. If you didn't file your taxes, be prepared to owe Uncle Sam. The deadline to file was Tuesday night at midnight, but some people didn't get their taxes done. The penalties are different if you didn't file on time versus not paying on time. Liberty Tax Monkey Junction Manager Robert Quesada said, "If you haven't filed on time the penalty is five percent per month for not filing on time for the first five months. Then that's for not filing on time. For not paying on time, it's a one percent penalty per month and then there's interest that they will charge on a quarterly basis." If you filed an extension on your taxes it is not an extension to pay, it's just an extension to file. The IRS is still going to charge you one percent per month interest. There is no penalty or interest for late filing if you don't owe money. The stimulus package recently passed by Congress can give up to a $600 rebate to those who qualify. But many in our area may not be cashing in. You have to file with the IRS this year, even if you don't have any income to declare. Tax aides say that's the case with many elderly or disabled citizens. Some of these people haven't filed tax returns in years and they might find all of this a bit overwhelming. AARP tax aide Mike Ferris said, "It's eight or nine pages. And to wade through that and determine whether you're eligible or not, and what needs to go on that form can be difficult for people." The good news is it's not too late. The deadline to submit the rebate forms is not until October. Tax aides will be at the Roark Library in Shallotte on Friday to help. You can also find help on the AARP web site.
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