Washington (Aug. 3, 2004) — For almost 8.5 million taxpayers who opted for the automatic extension of time to file, the deadline for filing their 2003 returns is August 16.

The Internal Revenue Service reminds taxpayers with extensions to file their returns by August 16 to avoid the late filing penalty, which is 5 percent per month of the unpaid tax. Help may be available, however, for people who cannot file by August 16.

Taxpayers with special circumstances, such as a hardship, that prevent them from preparing and filing their tax forms by August 16 may request an additional two-month extension by completing Form 2688, giving them until October 15 to file their income tax returns. These taxpayers will be granted an extension of time to file even if they cannot send in payment of outstanding 2003 taxes with the extension request.

To request the additional time to file, taxpayers must file Form 2688 with the IRS by August 16. The IRS will advise filers in writing whether or not their requests are granted.  Approval for those who file electronically will be sent back on the acknowledgement record. The IRS expects to receive more than 3 million Forms 2688 during 2004.

— WebCPA staff

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