Crunch is here for tax procrastinators
by Denise Ellen Rizzo
Apr 05, 2013 | 1592 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tax time
Julie Jones, manager for Liberty Tax Service at 1260 W. 11th St., helps a customer with her taxes Wednesday, April 3. As of Friday, April 4, there are 10 days left to file federal income taxes this year.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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Dressed in a Statue of Liberty costume and waving with enthusiasm on 11th Street, Carole Angulo reminded passers-by on Wednesday, April 4, that the federal income tax deadline looms.

Angulo is one of two mascots who promote Liberty Tax Service, at 1260 W. 11th St., throughout the tax season, which closes April 15, a Monday.

“I love it, everybody knows me,” Angulo said, holding her Chihuahua, Conchita. “People beep and wave. I buy a drink in the (99 Cents Only) store, and the kids in there treat me like a celebrity.”

Though Angulo is enjoying her tax season role, many who have put off filing or requesting an extension are dreading having to pay the federal government the taxes they owe, said Julie Jones, Liberty Tax office manager.

“I’m getting ready for the second peak (of the season) going into next week,” Jones said Wednesday. “We do one-third of our business from the end of January through the second week of March, and this last week, we hit the other one-third.”

When it comes to tax filing at Liberty, the first in line to file are typically people expecting money back, she said.

In early February, she saw younger people with children looking to get their refunds, but she said late filers are typically procrastinators or those who owe the government money.

When it comes to write-offs, she said there is nothing special this year to help taxpayers looking for ways to get or increase a refund.

The $600 stimulus and car sales tax write-offs from 2009 are gone, along with the 2010-11 work credit, she said.

Still available to taxpayers are typical write-offs that come with owning a house, having children, attending college or earning a low to moderate income.

Jones said those people who get a refund sometimes withhold more money from their weekly paycheck as a saving strategy,

while others prefer to withhold less in taxes and receive more money each week.

“Some people look at it as a savings account,” she said. “Personally, I like to see mine in April to get money for summer.”

Competing with tax filing services such as Liberty and H&R Block are local certified public accountants.

Bill Pollard Jr., whose accounting office is at 79 E. 11th St., said his tax filing rush is pretty much year-round.

“We do 70 returns a day, and in February 100,” he said Wednesday. “I expect it will be a little busier (this week).”

Pollard said one of the biggest hurdles he faced in getting clients quick returns this year was the result of Congress changing federal tax laws due to the fiscal cliff.

The fiscal cliff was a combination of expiring tax cuts and across-the-board government spending cuts scheduled to become effective Dec. 31. The thought was that it would be detrimental to an already shaky economy if the federal government allowed the cuts to happen, but Congress failed to agree on a bill for President Barack Obama’s approval.

The changes prevented the Internal Revenue Service from quickly accepting federal filings, so Pollard said he filed clients’ state returns separately and waited for the federal government.

Although his office is busy, Pollard is accepting new clients as the final push approaches.

But when it comes to filing taxes, Jones said it’s better to do it early — advice she hopes more people follow in 2014.

“It comes every year,” she said. “It’s not a surprise to the world. April 15 has been the tax deadline forever. You just have to bite the bullet and take it like an adult.”

• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at 830-4225 or drizzo@tracypress.com.
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