Iowa taxpayers who got a six-month extension from the IRS to file their 2005 taxes have until next Monday to file. That means returns need to be postmarked before Midnight, October 16th in order for the taxpayer to escape penalties for failing to file or pay the taxes they owe. While some Iowans still use conventional methods of filing a return, IRS spokesman Christopher Miller says there’s an easier way.

The easiest way for taxpayers to file their return before the 16th is to do it electronically — and it’s free for 7 out of ten of us. He adds that’s the fastest, most secure way to file. Miller says those receiving a refund from their taxes will usually receive that money within 2 weeks of e-filing, while filing through the mail can often take twice as long or more.

According to Miller, out of one-point-35-million taxpayers in Iowa, about 44-thousand, 500 of them filed for that six-month extension. It’s a popular thing to do, and about a third of those filed electronically, which he says reinforces that point that it’s a popular way to do business.

Miller says there are many different factors involved as to why people file for and get an extension to file. He says often people are going through “a life-changing event.” They’ve gotten married or divorced, they’ve moved — and when April rolls around they’re not thinking about their taxes when the deadline comes up. They can immediately file an extension, and he says with no questions asked, they’ve got six months to take their time.

Taxpayers who have software of their own or use a preparer can opt to file electronically. Everyone else can go to “IRS-dot-gov,” and pick the option that best suits you, for free.