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Archive for Thursday, April 15, 2010

Death and taxes: Filing slightly better than a funeral, survey finds

April 15, 2010

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— Despite e-filing, 24-hour tax prep centers, easy-to-use computer programs and the lure of refunds, the IRS expects hundreds of thousands of people to file their tax returns barely before Thursday’s deadline.

The reason: Americans find the annual ritual only slightly more bearable than attending a funeral, a new survey shows.

The survey, by Allianz Life Insurance Company, found that even though the majority of those asked expected to get a refund, they’d just as soon not bother with 1040s, Schedule Cs and the like.

That was the exactly the case for Shirley Fleurival, 39, who was in an H&R Block office in Pembroke Pines, Fla., this week — making up for three years of not filing returns. She completed her 2007 and 2008 returns last week and was wrapping up her 2009 paperwork Monday.

Fleurival said she finally had the right motivation: She plans to go to nursing school and cannot apply for student loans without copies of her tax returns.

“After today, I’ll be completely caught up,” said Fleurival. Then she grinned. “I will be the happiest person in the world.”

The IRS estimated that about 2 million Floridians put off filing their taxes until the last two weeks before the deadline.

Many tax preparation companies, including some H&R Block locations, will be open 24 hours on the eve of tax day; others will accept clients late into the evening Thursday.

If all else fails, would-be taxpayers can file an extension and minimize any tax penalties by wrapping up their returns Friday, said Kerry Meister-Miller, an H&R Block district manager who is accustomed to a crush of last-minute filers. Some 600,000 Floridians are expected to request an extension.

“They’re busy,” she said. “Life is happening.”

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