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Tax Time Cometh

The taxman cometh. Actually, he’s here.

Every year, tax day is sure. And every year people wait untilthe last minute to send off their taxes, in spite of the lines atthe post office that have been much shorter and more manageable inthe first three months of the year.

Chris Smith, of Brookhaven, said he waits until the last minuteevery year.

“I don’t know why I keep putting it off,” he said, as he sentoff two of the large blue and white envelopes that go to theInternal Revenue Service in bushels in the second week ofApril.

IRS Media Relations Representative Dee Harris Stepter said thereis still help for people who wait even later than Smith.

“Our assistors at our local offices and toll-free number(1-800-TAX-1040)are ready to assist taxpayers, right up to thedeadline. www.IRS.gov is available even after our offices closewith answers to tax law questions, publications and forms and alsoelectronic filing through Free File,” she said. “Also, we have anumber of IRS-trained community volunteers to provide tax returnpreparation to taxpayers with income under $49,000.”

And post office workers batten down the hatches this time ofyear too, said Officer in Charge of the Post Office LisaTucker.

“It has gotten a little busier,” she said. “We make certainadjustments to staffing, because this time of year is much busierthan normal, and we stock up on items like envelopes thatprofessionals need more of at this time of year.”

But Andy Kelly of Summit said he e-filed his taxes a long timeago.

“I got my return back in early February,” he said. “It was justa lot easier to sit down at the computer and knock it out.”

Stepter said there are a lot of Mississippians that feel thesame way Kelly does. She said as of April 2, 88 percent of the829,000 returns that had been filed statewide were doneelectronically.

“We are continuing to see electronic filing increase as morepeople enjoy the ease of e-file,” she said. “More people arechoosing to prepare their own returns using either tax preparationsoftware or website services.”

Tucker, who said she e-filed for the first time this year, saidthe Internet has stemmed the last-minute rush a little, but it’sstill hectic this time of year.

“It has slowed down a little from the past, when we used to stayopen until midnight on tax day,” she said. “With the Internet thathas become fewer and farther between. But we will make every effortto get everything taken care of and mailed out as it comes in(Thursday).”

Brookhaven’s Amanda Hodges said she’s just glad to have hertaxes sent off, adding that April 15 makes her think of stress andmoney.

“I hire an accountant and have them take care of it,” shesaid.

Meanwhile, Stepter said taxpayers who have missed the deadlineare not doomed, but should do their filing as soon as possible.

If you did not file your return on April 15 or did not file anextension, file your return as soon as possible.

“E-filing is still available,” she said. “So e-file with directdeposit is going to be the fastest way to get your refund. If youowe money, file as quickly as possible to minimize the failure tofile penalty. Also, pay as much as you can when you send in thereturn. The non-payment penalty and interest accrues on the unpaidbalance.”