The Internal Revenue Service is postponing its tax-filing deadline for victims of the recent floods, storms and tornadoes in four states.

The postponement is until May 6 in parts of Illinois, May 19 in parts of Georgia and Missouri, and May 27 in parts of Arkansas.

Tax extension requests are becoming more popular, whether or not taxpayers have been affected by natural disasters. Across the country, the IRS said it anticipates receiving 10.3 million extension requests during 2008, compared to 10 million in 2007.

The agency is urging taxpayers to file the extension requests electronically. The extension gives them until October 15 to file a return, but they must still pay any taxes they owe by April 15. The IRS also requires taxpayers to file their taxes in order to receive their tax rebates, or economic stimulus payments, starting in July.

The IRS is making some exceptions to the rule on paying taxes due and filing extensions by April 15. Besides disaster victims, members of the military serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and other combat zones are also eligible. The postponement normally lasts until 180 days after the service member leaves the combat zone.

Despite the extensions, more people are filing their returns earlier. As of last Friday, the IRS has received 86,817,000 tax returns, a 7.4 percent increase over the 80,800,000 received by the same time last year.

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