Taxpayers have two extra days to finish their dreaded federal income taxes this year.
Just don’t expect the April 17 deadline to affect anyone who was expecting a refund. Like anything else, the procrastinators typically had a reason to put it off.
“If you’re due a refund, why wait until the last minute? It’s nonsensical to wait any longer,” said Alexandro Bermudez, the director of Electronic Tax Center, which operates 16 locations across the Rio Grande Valley during tax season. “Folks that wait until the last minute, which really isn’t good, are usually someone who owes.”
Because April 15 falls on a Sunday this year, the Internal Revenue Service would normally give taxpayers an extra day. But Monday falls on Emancipation Day, a holiday observed in Washington, D.C., to give taxpayers another day to delay.
This year’s April 17 deadline hasn’t really affected Electronic Tax Center, where about 90 percent of its blue-collar customers looking for “lightning fast dinero” filed in the first three months of the year, Bermudez said. But he added that “procrastinating is never a viable solution” since it limits the options for households to handle a larger tax bill than expected.
Taxpayers won’t be able to take advantage of the Making Work Pay Tax Credit this year that was allowed on 2009 and 2010 taxes under the American Recovery Act. The credit, which provided up to $400 for individuals and $800 for couples, could mean Valley residents have a higher tax burden this year.
While filing an extension will give taxpayers until Oct. 15 to finish their returns, extensions only give them six more months to send in the paperwork. Interest still accrues on any taxes due and late payment penalties can snowball into a much larger amount than the taxpayer expects to owe.
Guadalupe Mauricio, the owner of Liberty Tax Service in McAllen, said proper tax planning is something that’s done consistently throughout the year. But his office will have extended office hours throughout the weekend and stay open until the last customer leaves on Tuesday.
With more people using do-it-yourself tax services to save on filing costs, Liberty Tax Service has seen an influx in customers who are audited for incorrect tax returns, said Mauricio, whose office also provides audit defense services. But Liberty Tax Service’s biggest increase in business this year has come from Mexican nationals who have moved to the Valley on investor visas to avoid the drug violence that has decimated northern Mexico.
Mauricio said those new taxpayers filing corporate and partnership returns just want to have them finished on April 15.
The Mexican nationals “are not aware of it falling on the weekend or on the Emancipation holiday,” Mauricio said. “They’re sticklers for making sure everything is done correctly and on time.”
Jared Janes covers Hidalgo County government, Edinburg and legislative issues for The Monitor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and (956) 683-4424.
Follow Jared Janes on Twitter: @moncounty