Community column: Tax preparers take seasonal rush in stride
While the argument whether our tax policies are fair or not wages on, the majority of us will have already submitted our taxes and are not sweating out the final days before filing. The deadline is Tuesday so the procrastinators bought a few days of reprieve with the 15th on a Sunday and Emancipation Day on Monday. Sources at TurboTax, an online filing service, estimate that typically a bit over 20 percent of us wait until the last two weeks to file. Local experts call New River Valley filers a bit more prompt.
It is busy, admits Marta Brinberg, an enrolled agent who has been helping my family with their taxes for nearly ten years. While “tax season” officially starts in January as corporate taxes must be filed by March 15, there’s always a rush to the end, but not 20 percent of clients, which would make for a maddening crush. Much more than a simple busy.
Bob Blake, CPA and founder of Blake and Moody in Radford, has noticed an interesting consistency with clients. “Believe it or not, most people file about the same time each year,” he observes. “For a lot of them, I can almost set the date for the next year when they’ll bring their stuff.”
Blake has a good sample size to support his observations. This is his 40th tax season.
You see a lot of things in four decades of work. Blake is generally measured when he describes the process. He could do without the stress and long hours as mid-April approaches, but, as he puts it, “That’s the nature of the beast.”
His relaxed attitude could also be a matter of geography. Blake says most of his clients are typical taxpayers with pretty normal income sources. “I don’t have to handle anything outlandish, like off-shore tax shelters,” he notes.
Brinberg enjoys the look into other professions that tax documents provide. “My clients include people with a wide array of occupations — writers, plumbers, horse trainers, musicians, engineers, teachers, and more. Being a tax accountant allows me a peek into corners of the community that I would not otherwise have.”
I’m glad someone gains some pleasure from the process. For most of us, it is quiet, relentless anguish. I have a friend who owns four businesses and hadn’t started her personal taxes as of last Saturday. I’ve left her alone for the week. Every business-related conversation I had last week eventually turned toward the topic — the looming deadline.
There’s a light after the storm for our accounting professionals. You can likely find them enjoying a late April respite. Recovery comes in all shapes and sizes. Blake, an avid golfer, will spend a week in Pinehurst, N.C., this year. Brinberg will revive herself through the arts; she plans to attend the Virginia Arts Festival in Norfolk on Wednesday. Early filers might also be enjoying the benefits of their proactive behavior. And while numerous financial pages recommend using refunds to support savings or retirement, very few — about 5 percent according to a 2010 study — will apply this wisdom.
If you need an exacting countdown to the second, see the efile Website.
By Catherine Van Noy
Special to The Burgs | 639-3330
No Comments »
No comments yet.