The tax man cometh, but a little time left to file
A quote hangs on Jim Nelson’s office wall: “A lack of organization on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.”Nelson and his wife, Mary, own Numbers Inc., an accounting firm in Glenwood Springs. Since early February, they and other accountants and tax preparers have been steadily filing federal and state tax returns.From now until April 15 is done and gone, and because people tend to procrastinate with filing their tax returns, whether they like it or not, the Nelsons are in an emergency mode.”We have gotten to the point where we are just trying to retain our own sanity,” said Jim Nelson on Thursday afternoon between clients. “To me, it’s an effort to try to give ourselves the illusion that we’re still in control of our lives.”To those who have waited until today, or who are so bold or unorganized as to wait until Monday, April 15, to visit a tax preparer or to get an appointment, good luck. Trying to catch up with an accountant in the days leading up to April l5 is like trying to chase a greyhound dog around the track.At this point, said Nelson, “When someone walks in the door we (A) glare at them; (B) mutter obscenities; and (C) give them an extension.”Filing for an extension, he added, doesn’t mean that people who owe the IRS money don’t have to pay until later. It simply allows them send in an estimated payment and postpone filling out all the detailed paperwork for four months without paying late penalties while they get their act together.And while tax preparers are stressing, so are the folks who waited until the last minute to file their taxes. H&R Block, with offices in Glenwood Springs and Rifle, isn’t scheduling appointments after today. The offices will, however, accept clients on a first come, first served basis, according to Fran Needham, an agent at the Glenwood Springs office. Needham has a bit of advice for last-minute clients: “Please have everything organized. We cry easily this time of year.”The Glenwood Springs office will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday, April 15. In Rifle, hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Monday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. H&R Block prepares all types of tax returns. The more complicated the return, the longer it will take to file.This year, said Needham, people who owe the IRS money can apply for a “balance due” loan.With approved credit, filers can borrow money to pay their taxes on April 15. The filer then has 90 days to pay back the bank with no interest. After 90 days, the loan becomes “like a credit card,” and the principal plus interest must be paid according to the bank’s terms.The IRS requires that everyone who owes taxes must post their tax payment by April 15 and not a day later. For the most part, local post offices will not postmark mail any later than on any other business day. At Carbondale and New Castle, tax returns should be mailed no later than 4:30 p.m., at the main post offices, in order to guarantee the April 15 postmark. The Silt post office will postmark mail until 5 p.m., as will the Parachute post office. People mailing returns at Parachute most deliver them to the main office’s inside drop, and not at the Battlement Mesa contact station.At Rifle, late filers have until midnight to drop returns off at the collection drop at the main post office on Railroad Avenue.In Glenwood Springs, taxpayers can have their returns postmarked until 10 p.m. The main post office will accept tax returns until 6 p.m. Between 6 and 10 p.m., tax returns may be dropped off at the Mail Processing Facility located at 195 Center Drive in West Glenwood Springs.However, items will not be weighed and stamps will not be sold at that location. Most tax packets take at least two 34-cent stamps.For more information on filing your tax returns, visit your local accountant or tax preparer. Just don’t expect a smile.
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Between putting the winter toys away and anticipating upcoming COVID-19 freedoms, now is a great time to freshen up your finances.