IRS offers tips for filing taxes that must be postmarked by today

6-month extensions for filing available, but taxes due must be paid by today

The Internal Revenue Service is offering a few tips to taxpayers with the deadline for filing 2015 tax returns next today.

Those who need more time to complete their returns should submit their requests for an automatic extension electronically or by paper on form 4868 and postmarked no later than today.

"More than four out of five returns are e-filed and most are using direct deposit for their refund," said IRS Spokesman Raphael Tulino.

Some reminders for taxpayers to consider on deadline day:

An extension of time is available. An automatic six-month extension to file through October 17 provides taxpayers with an extra six months to file but not to pay. Those who owe should make their payments on or before April 18 to avoid potential penalties and interest.

Use IRS E-file or Free-File. E-file is safe, accurate, less time consuming and popular. More than 90% of all returns into the IRS thus far in 2016 have been e-filed. In addition, the IRS Free-File program is available to everyone. The quickest way to a refund is through direct deposit.

Get free help. Lower-income taxpayers can get free tax return preparation at dozens of Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites. Simple returns and income generally less than $54,000 normally qualifies for VITA assistance. Find site locations by calling the IRS VITA toll-free number at 800-906-9887, or by calling 211.

Don't miss out. Be sure to not overlook any applicable tax benefit, credit or deduction. Tax credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, the "Saver's" Credit and the Child and Dependent Care Credit often fly under the radar. In addition, the recent law brought back the Full-Time educator (teacher) deduction, the sales tax deduction and the Tuition and Fees deduction for 2015 and 2016.

Watch out for tax scams. The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers through email or on the phone. In addition, if something seems like it is too good to be true, it probably is.

Consider payment options. Taxpayers who cannot full pay a balance due have options such as an installment agreement plan or an offer-in-compromise. The IRS urges those who cannot fully pay their taxes to file a return, pay what they can and let the agency know. IRS has the flexibility to help.

Check refund status. Use the "Where's My Refund" feature anytime on

Unclaimed 2012 tax refunds. Almost $1 billion is available to thousands of taxpayers but a tax return is needed to claim on or before April 18, 2016.

Healthcare. Most will check a box on Form 1040 indicating coverage. For those who purchased insurance through the marketplace, form 1095-A is needed in most cases for an accurate return.

Go online for tax questions, forms, help, answers and more. For ease and convenience, check online first at before calling the IRS or visiting an IRS office. In addition, many offices now have an appointment feature. Taxpayers are urged to check first before they go to an IRS office.

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