By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The countdown is on. Taxpayers have until midnight Tuesday to get their taxes done.

The IRS will receive about 135 million tax returns by the April 15 deadline. About 90 percent of those are now filed electronically.

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In a roundabout way, that’s helped cut down on the number of audits the IRS can conduct.

“I took a bath this year and had to, uh, pay in quite a bit this year,” business owner Chad Czmowski said.

Czmowski is the owner of Outdoor Motion, a bike shop in Hutchinson, Minn.

Much like balancing a bike, he has to balance business and family taxes. So he takes all the time he needs to file.

“I followed tradition,” Czmowski said. “Waited to the last minute and I mailed them today.”

While Czmowski is paying out, he’s in the minority.

The IRS said of the 135 million tax returns they’ll receive by Tuesday night, more than half the filers will get a refund.

The average refund will be about $2,700.

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Still, it’s the very thought of doing taxes that leads to so many last-minute filings.

“People seem to put off what they don’t appreciate doing,” lawyer Chad Piehl said.

Piehl works for the firm Piehl, Hanson, and Beckman.

He said as the popularity of e-filing has increased, the chances of being audited have decreased.

“Their audit level this coming year will be equal to sometime in the ’80s, so your chances are less,” Piehl said.

Piehl said budget cuts are to blame. The IRS is paying for more technology costs, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t watching.

Piehl said the IRS will let you know if something doesn’t add up.

“We’ve seen substantially more correspondence letters coming from the IRS. They’re really letters of omission, which make it difficult for people to leave income out of their tax returns today,” Piehl said.

The IRS estimates that about 12 million taxpayers will ask for an extension by Tuesday night.

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That gives them an extra six months to file.

John Lauritsen