Looked at a calendar recently?
If not, you may be surprised to see that Monday is April 15, the deadline to file 2012 tax returns.
Chris Smith, owner of CB Smith and Associates in Cumming, said if you have a complex return, it might be too late.
“If it’s a fairly simple return, you could probably go to a [tax preparation chain] and get it done, but if it’s a little more complex and you need a CPA to look at it, I think you’re going to have a hard time finding a CPA who’s going to be able to work it in.”
Smith said that his clients are advised to bring their returns and all supporting documents to the office by late March.
“We send out word to our clients that if you want it done by April 15, you need to have everything in to us by the 25th of March. Not to say we won’t be able to get it done, we just can’t guarantee that they’re going to have it then.”
This late in the game, Smith said, many people should just plan to file an extension with the Internal Revenue Service.
But, he said, filing an extension doesn’t mean you won’t have to pay any taxes you owe at a later date.
“That’s a very common mistake [saying], ‘Oh, I’ll just extend and buy myself more time [to pay].’ No, actually it doesn’t,” he said. “It’s always important to remember that if you have taxes due, they have to be paid by April 15.”
For those who won’t be filing an extension, the Cumming Post Office will be fully staffed on Monday to help get those returns postmarked in time.
Anne Berger, postmaster of the local office, joked that April 15 means “a lot of customers and not enough revenue” for the postal service.
“It’s not as bad as it used to be because a lot of people file electronically, but we still get a good bit of customers coming through,” she said. “We won’t let anyone off that day. We’ll be fully staffed and I will have people out in the lobby collecting and date-stamping tax returns.”
The Cumming Post Office on Tribble Gap Road will be open normal hours Monday, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Berger said.
“It is very busy for one day.”
At CB Smith and Associates, Smith and his team of nine tax preparers have more than just one busy day ahead of them.
“It’s a crazy time and it can be little tense,” he said. “Tax returns end up being a very emotional moment for many of our clients and for many Americans. It’s elation if they’re getting a refund and if they owe, it’s the other way around.”
For those filing an extension, Smith said people should estimate what they owe and make some payment by Monday to avoid additional penalties and interest. And even if they don’t owe the IRS or are getting a refund, an extension is appropriate if they can’t file in time.
“If they’re confident they’re not going to owe and they just run behind, they can easily go to the IRS’ Web site and file and extension there,” Smith said. “It’s a fairly easy process. They’ve tried to make it as simple as possible for folks to file those extensions.”
And Smith advises anyone who hasn’t yet gotten an expected return to remain calm.
“So many people, they panic,” he said. “But the last thing you need to do is kind of get paralyzed and not do anything.
“File an extension, and if you engage with the IRS, they’re happy to work with you, even if you owe.”