How Is Everyone Coping With Tax Deadline Stress?

Monday, April 13th 2009, 10:02 pm
By: News On 6

By Chris Wright, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Mid-April is always stressful for those who wait until the last minute to file their taxes.  But, professionals say the poor economy has made things even worse this year.  So, how is everyone coping with that stress?

Gardner Tax Services was full of taxpayers on Monday trying to beat the April 15th deadline.

"It's always a relief to get it done and get it out of the way," said Jennifer Lyman of Kellyville.

"Oh my God, it's been crazy today. There's lots and lots of people coming in, most of it's walk-ins.  People trying to fit in because there are no appointments left," said Eileen Robinson with Gardner Tax Services.

Head Accountant Eileen Robinson says the hectic pre-deadline days are an annual event, but some of her clients are dealing with new tax problems this year, namely the loss of a job or reduced salary.

"It really takes a toll on a family who is used to making really good money to not making anything at all, and they're used to their finances being a certain way," said Eileen Robinson with Gardner Tax Services.

As a result, she says more people are filing for last-minute extensions.

Experts at Liberty Tax Services expect the IRS to be more lenient about granting those extensions this year, but no matter how dire your straits, you will eventually have to pay what you owe.

"The one thing about extensions that we try to stress to people is extensions are an extension of time to file, not an extension of time to pay," said Sherie Alusp with Liberty Tax Services.

Despite all dark economic clouds, accountants say there are some silver linings for filers this year like the tax credit for new homeowners.  

But for most, taxes will remain one of life's certainties that can't be avoided, even during a recession.

"The times are tough, and there are little things the government is trying to do here or there to help out, but there's just only so much," said Eileen Robinson with Gardner Tax Services.

If you do need an extension, experts recommend setting up a payment plan that will allow you to pay back what you owe as quickly as possible.  That way, you avoid higher penalties.