Tax filing deadline is days away

IRS estimates about 26 percent of Americans still haven't filed

By Amy Davis - Reporter/Consumer Expert

HOUSTON - With the April 15th tax deadline just days away, the IRS estimates about 26 percent of Americans have still not filed.

"What we're seeing here at Neighborhood Tax Centers is that the majority of filers are people who owe," said Elizabeth Ferrer, a tax preparer and the spokes person for Neighborhood Tax Centers.

Fifteen locations staffed with volunteer tax preparers have been open since March to help people file their taxes for free; but traffic has really picked up this week before the deadline.

Ferrer says people need to know that they must take some action, even if it's just filing for an extension by April 15th. You can download an "extension to file" form at www.irs.gov.

"The extension gives you 6 more months in order to file your tax return, but it is not an extension of payment," explained Ferrer. 'If you owe taxes, it's a good idea to send as much as you can towards your tax bill, even if you have to estimate it."

A good estimate is to use the amount you owed last year. If you need help filing your taxes, the Neighborhood Tax Centers have extended weekend hours.

VIEW: PDF for locations and times

Four locations are open Sunday and Monday.They will file your taxes for free if your family's household income is no more than $70,000 a year or $50,000 if you have no dependents.

If you plan to mail your tax return the old-fashioned way, remember the post office no longer offers extended hours on tax day.

If you use a tax preparer, you should never have to pay extra for direct deposit or e-filing. Ferrer says the insurance many tax preparers and software companies try to sell you is not worth it.

Copyright 2013 by Click2Houston.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.