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Taxes due in mail or online by midnight.

Byline: Sherri Buri McDonald The Register-Guard

Most Oregon taxpayers already have filed their tax returns, federal and state tax spokesmen said Wednesday. But for those who haven't, both federal and state tax returns must be postmarked tonight before the stroke of midnight.

About 1.2 million Oregonians have filed their state taxes with the Oregon Department of Revenue, and there are about 600,000 left to go, department spokesman Derrick Gasperini said.

Of that 1.2 million, about 80 percent filed electronically - roughly the same amount as this time last year, he said.

Nationally, electronic filing is up almost 7 percent from this time last year, IRS spokesman Richard Panick said. More than 1 million Oregonians filed their federal taxes electronically this tax season, he said.

It's too early to tell whether most Oregonians overpaid their state taxes this season and are expecting a refund, or underpaid them and will have to write a check, Gasperini said.

The average state refund so far this tax season is $665, down from $928 last year, he said.

As for federal taxes, preliminary IRS figures show that the average federal refund in Oregon is more than $2,628, up $208 from the same time last year.

Most federal taxpayers are due a refund, Panick, the IRS spokesman, said.

Generally refunds are up because of new tax credits, such as Making Work Pay and the first-time homebuyers credit, and expansion of other credits, he said.

Electronic filers who are owed a federal or state refund, and who choose direct deposit, generally will receive it within 10 days of filing, Panick and Gasperini said. Paper filers will have to wait considerably longer - up to eight weeks, they said.

To check the status of a refund, or to access other tax information, go to or The IRS help phone line is 800-829-1040; the Oregon Department of Revenue help line is 800-356-4222 in Oregon or 503-378-4988 in Salem and outside Oregon.

In a weak economy - Oregon's seasonally adjusted unemployment was 10.6 percent in March - plenty of taxpayers owe income taxes, but may not have the cash to pay.

The IRS recommends that taxpayers file their federal taxes on time and pay as much as they can of their bill because the late filing penalty is 10 times greater than the late payment penalty.

The late filing penalty is 5 percent per month, up to 25 percent of the tax due, according to the IRS. The late payment penalty is one-half of 1 percent per month.

A projected 117,900 Oregonians will file for an extension on their federal taxes this tax season, Panick said.

Taxpayers may file for an extension from the IRS by mailing in Form 4868, or by using tax preparation software to file their request electonically, by the April 15 deadline.

Taxpayers who estimate that they owe money, and who pay all or part of their estimate using a credit card, can request an extension at the same time. They can do this over the phone or online through one of the service providers listed on Form 4868, according to the IRS. The service provider will charge a fee for this service.

Filing for an extension gives the taxpayer more time (until Oct. 15) to file the paperwork, not more time to pay. Taxpayers who owe must estimate how much and send it in, or set up a payment plan.

Taxpayers who file for a federal extension also will be granted an extension on their Oregon state taxes, Gasperini said.

For filers who find themselves working down to the wire tonight, the last mail pick-up in the Eugene-Springfield area is the post office near Gateway Mall. The final pick-up from the drive-through collection boxes outside the building is midnight.

"They'll get the April 15 postmark as long as they have it in the blue collection boxes (at Gateway) by midnight," said Ronald Anderson, U.S. Postal Service spokesman.

In Eugene, as in a number of other communities, a Tax Day Tea Party is planned for today to protest what the sponsor, nonprofit organization 912Lane, calls wasteful government spending.

The rally will be held from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the former federal building at 211 E. Seventh Ave. in Eugene.


Eugene Main Post Office, 520 Willamette St. Retail window inside closes at 5:30 p.m. Final mail pick-up in lobby, 5:30 p.m. Last pickup at blue boxes outside, 6 p.m.

Gateway Post Office, Springfield, 3148 Gateway. Automated postal center in lobby is open 24 hours. Final pick-up from blue collection boxes outside is midnight.
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Title Annotation:Business; State refunds are down, but federal refunds are up for most Oregonians
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Apr 15, 2010
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