Wishing you a happy return: Tax filing deadline is today
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – The day dreaded by many Americans is here again – April 15, or tax day. Tax returns need to be postmarked or extensions must be sent out by midnight tonight. Although some people exiting local tax preparers’ offices Monday had smiles on their faces – likely an indication they’ll be getting some money back – others were a bit grumbly.”People get upset,” said Glenwood Springs H&R Block tax preparer Jeff Spink. “Mostly it’s from unexpectedly owing money – unexpected balance dues.”Spink has been preparing taxes in various places since 1969 and said this year, while busy, April 14 seemed slower than in previous years. “A couple of years ago we were wall-to-wall on the 14th,” Spink said. The biggest change Spink said he’s been seeing this year is people owing more than they expected. He said that’s because the tax brackets changed, so there was less federal withholding on peoples’ paychecks than in the past. “People are making more but withholding less,” he said. To ease the tax burden, all sorts of everyday expenses can be used as tax deductions, many that might come as a surprise to the average taxpayer. Medical and dental expenses, eyeglasses and contact lenses, therapy treatments, even air conditioning, vaporizers, thermometers, mileage to and from medical offices and bandages can be written off if recommended by a doctor. Interest on home mortgages, volunteer work expenses, charitable contributions, the cost of a safety deposit box, union dues, safety shoes and the cost of tax preparation itself can also be written off. Despite these potential write-offs, Glenwood Springs resident Cherri Douglas said she thinks taxes should be lower. “I feel like the self-employment taxes are a little high,” she said. Douglas is a student at Colorado Mountain College, but she said her parents told her that self-employment taxes are “pretty astronomical.””They could help people who start up businesses and are self-employed,” she said. As far as her own taxes, Douglas said she had to pay this year and that’s why she was filing the day before taxes are due.”I had to pay in,” she said. “If I was getting money back, I would have been in here earlier.”She had her tax return prepared Monday at H&R Block in Glenwood Springs. “They’re always very fair here and always helpful,” she said. Income tax historyAccording to a Century Foundation Web site, during the late 1700s and for most of the 1800s, the federal government raised the bulk of its revenue from tariffs, excise taxes and property taxes.But in 1894, Congress enacted a progressive income tax. The tax was declared unconstitutional the following year, leading to the passage of the 16th Amendment. The amendment allowed Congress to impose an income tax. Then-President Woodrow Wilson signed the modern personal income tax into law in 1913.Contact Greg Mass: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.orgPost office hours-The Carbondale post office closes at 4:30 p.m. today, but tax returns placed in blue public mailboxes before midnight will be postmarked by April 15.-Glenwood Springs’ main post office closes at 6 p.m. and West Glenwood’s post office will close at 5:30 p.m. Returns placed in public mailboxes after 6 p.m. will not be postmarked by April 15. -New Castle’s post office closes at 4:30 p.m. Returns placed in public mailboxes after that time will not be postmarked by April 15. -Silt’s post office will close at 5 p.m. Returns placed in public mailboxes after that time will not be postmarked by April 15. -Rifle’s post office will close at 5:30 p.m., but tax returns placed in blue public mailboxes before midnight will be postmarked by April 15.-Parachute’s post office will close at 5 p.m., but tax returns placed in blue public mailboxes before midnight will be postmarked April 15.
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