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Tax extensions are a safe bet, experts say

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MISSOULA, Mont. - Taxes are due on Tuesday, April 18 this year. The date has been pushed back because the typical tax day, April 15, falls on a Saturday, and Monday is a holiday in Washington, D.C.

If you are far from being ready tax preparers say that's not actually a bad thing.

"The extension is an extension to file the tax return, it is not an extension to pay the taxes out," said H&R Block employee Ron Jarosch. "The best part of the job is when somebody comes in and they have an expectation of either getting a small refund or owing money, and I get them quite a bit more back."

There was actually a delay at the start of this filing season because of something called the PATH Act.

"The IRS is trying to stop fraud, so some of the returns with the refundable credits are delayed as far as being accepted by the IRS," Jarosch said. "So we saw a real slow start to the season."

However, fraud continues to be a problem.

"I got a call and my wife got a call from someone claiming to be the IRS. Clearly (they) were not from the IRS, but it's just a big thing that's been happening lately. Especially the phone calls and the emails," said Missoula resident Adam Babbitt.

One of the best ways to avoid fraud Jarosch says is to use direct deposit.

"It's a matter of personal choice," he said. "It's one of the best ways. It's a quick way. So you don't have to worry about someone stealing your mail, which is always a problem," Jarosch said.

In the end it all comes down to what makes you comfortable.

"Make sure you do everything correctly," said Babbitt. "If you are comfortable doing your own taxes, do them. If not, then take them to a professional to have them do it for you."

The IRS has made it easy to file an extension online. If you do file that extension, you must file by Oct. 16. You can also learn more about how to pay, including installment plans.

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