LEWISTON — Relax, Maine. You’ve got an extra day. Actually, two.

April 15 is the traditional tax filing deadline across the land, but with Patriot’s Day falling on Monday in Maine and Massachusetts, and Emancipation Day on April 16 in Washington, D.C., Maine state and federal returns need not be postmarked or e-filed until Wednesday, April 17.

Still, let’s not dally.

Through April 9, the state had processed 498,298 individual income tax returns and anticipated 200,000-plus more to come in before the tax season is over, according to Maine Revenue Services.

“On Wednesday, it will be a very busy day right from the start to the end,” said Heather Popadak, director of the Income and Estate Tax Division. “(We) probably expect 1,400 phone calls just that one day, which is traditionally our peak day, and we’ll probably expect 120, 125 walk-ins to the service center.”

So far, more than 70% of filers have gotten money back: 351,836 refunds totaling $230,422,973, with an average refund amount of $655.

The average state refund was up almost $40 compared to the same time last year.

Popadak said the tax season as a whole had gone well, even with the federal shutdown in January.

“Earlier in the year, there were fewer folks filing, so the interruptions were at a minimal level, but once we hit February, things have been very, very smooth, which we’re thankful for,” she said.

One unfortunate trend: An upturn in fraudulent filings.

After reaching more than $4 million in sought-after fraudulent refunds filed with the state four to five years ago, that figure had dropped to $800,000 last year, Popadak said.

“We’ve noticed especially in the last few weeks a severe uptick in the number of fraudulent returns filed,” she said. “We keep vigilant and keep watching for this. Now we’re not quite (at) $1.1 million this year.”

It does not appear so much to be linked to data breaches, she said, as more assorted identity theft.

More than 90 percent of returns have so far been filed electronically, she said, which MRS has been pushing — it speeds up the refund process.

To that end, they also printed fewer paper booklets, 45,0000 compared to 50,000 last year.

In the Twin Cities, the long-running Lewiston-Auburn CA$H Coalition has helped more than 200 people file their returns this year, according to co-chair Dottie Perham-Whittier, Lewiston’s community relations coordinator.

They were still tallying how much volunteers had helped people receive refunds for.

The approach changed last year from just helping people file returns, Perham-Whittier said, to turning visits into a longer financial checkup with resources and advice.

“We’ve had really good conversations about homeownership, budgeting,” she said. “Certainly the tax-prep piece is huge, but our financial literacy piece has grown by leaps and bounds, and it’s been very well-received.”

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