Double whammy: Taxes and Census both due this week - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Double whammy: Taxes and Census both due this week

WASHINGTON, D.C.- Call it a one-two punch from the government deadline department: Midnight Thursday is the deadline for having your IRS tax return postmarked and mailed, and then Friday is the last day to mail in a completed census form. 

Sure, missing the census deadline won't lead to the fines and penalties that overdue tax filers will face, but it could bring a census worker to your door. According to the IRS website, about 10 million Americans have yet to file their taxes. That means about 10 million people will have to take some sort of action today, whether it's filing a return or filing for a six-month extension. 

IRS spokespersons say the most important thing to remember is that taking no action at all is the very worst thing you could do. They say if you owe money and can't pay you need to call the IRS immediately. Officials with the Internal Revenue Service say they've directed their employees to be more flexible this year in light of the serious economic hardship that's facing many Americans. IRS officials say they can work with individuals to build a personal tax repayment plan on a case-by-case basis.

The good news is that once you finish your taxes, the Census form every American family must fill out will seem like a cakewalk. The questionnaire takes about 10 minutes to complete depending on how many people you're living with. Remember, the census is important: it's the basis for congressional representation and the distribution of federal, state, and local funds totaling more than $400 Billion annually.

As of Thursday morning, the national participation rate was 67 percent. In Washington it was slightly better at 69 percent. Locally, Spokane County posted a participation rate of 72 percent and Kootenai County stood at 73 percent. According to the Census Bureau, every participation rate percentage point that the government can get saves it $85 Million.

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