$1B refund at stake as tax deadline approaches - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

$1B refund at stake as tax deadline approaches

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - There is a little over five days until people can claim their portion of the one billion refund dollars.

Once the tax deadline passes on April 15, the government will keep that money for themselves.

Tax experts explained that you only have three years to collect a tax refund, which means money from 2011 will be untouchable come next Thursday if unclaimed.

"Lot of people think if you've got a refund you can get it forever, but that's not true," Steve Brown said, owner of Mr. Tax of America.

 You can file an extension if you owe money, but if you miss the deadline without one, you could be slammed with a 25% penalty. 
 
"All the extension is good for is to delay the filing of the paper work. It doesn't delay paying the tax, the tax is due," Brown stated. 
 
Some last minute filers like Tracy Horton says they're relieved to get their taxes done, just in time. "
It's dreaded, and I have to go in and get it done, and now I'm just glad that it's over with," Horton said. 

As tax centers across the valley see heightened traffic, some are extending hours to accommodate everyone.
Bridgette Outten at the Goodwill of the Southern Rivers said, "January was a little slow, but then it picked up as people got their W-2's in February and then it just kind of exploded toward the beginning of April."
 
 Accountants like those at Mr. Tax of America and Goodwill say they will continue helping last minute filers get their paperwork in on time.
 
 "The lower income families that may see higher fees when they go to get their taxes filed, so to be able to offer that last minute and then to be able to offer it for free, is definitely an amazing feeling," Outten said.


If you don't e-file, accountants encourage people to get their mail certified for proof that their taxes are sent in on time, in case it gets lost or delayed.

Goodwill will continue offering their free tax services to people with incomes $53,000 or less, and they'll do that until 11:59 Wednesday night.

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