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End of tax season brings relief

By ALLISON MILES
April 17, 2012 at 7:03 p.m.
Updated April 16, 2012 at 11:17 p.m.

A woman drops mail into the slot outside of the post office on Main Street as a line forms behind her Tuesday afternoon. The post office agreed to accept mail until midnight Tuesday and still affix an April 17 postmark to it so taxpayers had a little extra time to get their returns mailed by the deadline.

Did you know?

The IRS estimates it will receive more than 144 million individual tax returns this year.122 million people, or 77 percent of taxpayers, used the IRS e-file system last year.This year's tax deadline was April 17 since the traditional tax day, April 15, fell on a Sunday and Emancipation Day, a holiday for Washington, D.C., was Monday.Source: IRS website

Marie Rosalez clutched an envelope in her hand as she hurried inside Victoria's Main Street post office, emerging shortly after, envelope-free and with a bounce in her step.

Her 2011 taxes were done.

Tuesday was the deadline to file tax returns and, throughout the afternoon, last-minute filers headed to post offices and tax preparers to put the annual task to rest.

Rosalez said she always waits until the last minute to file, mainly because she likes to hold off on getting her return.

"So many people pay fees to get their money sooner, but I don't see the point in that," she said. "I'd rather wait. I figure the sooner you get the money, the sooner you spend it."

Late filer or not, she hadn't planned to wait until Tuesday.

"I thought I was done yesterday, but I was missing one thing," she said. "It's a good thing we had until today to get them in."

Brad Hillyer was also among those who ventured to the post office, but he wasn't focused on his own finances. Instead, he held a stack of receipts from the certified letters he'd sent off for his company, Keller & Associates.

The company sends the returns through certified mail to make sure the Internal Revenue Service receives it.

Hillyer, an assistant staff accountant, said it was a busy week at his office, but the staff actually finished early. As of Tuesday afternoon, all that was left was some clean-up and a celebration at the The PumpHouse Riverside Restaurant and Bar.

"We're very glad it's almost over," he said.

Tax day didn't provide relief for everyone, however.

Helen L. Callais, who owns HLC Bookkeeping Tax & Notary in Palacios, said she barely had time to catch her breath as last-minute filers had work piling up on her desk.

A healthy dose of Vitamin B helped her through the day, she said, noting her work wouldn't end at 5 p.m. Online filing meant she could continue into the evening, even after the post office closed.

In the meantime, she busied herself filing extensions for returns she simply couldn't get to.

"People can't wait until the last minute and expect everything to get done," said Callais, who's been in the business nearly 30 years. "I'm catching myself in circles now, just trying to get extensions done."

Mary Fisher, a manager with Liberty Tax Service in Victoria, agreed the deadline meant long hours for herself and coworkers. She worked 8 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Monday at the 207 Lone Tree Road office, and expected to stay just as late Tuesday.

Most people who wait until deadline owe money, Fisher said.

Tax day might be hectic, but she said she didn't rely on extra caffeine to keep her going. Instead, it was sheer adrenaline.

"You just keep going. Stay active," she said. "Between one client and another, you don't have time to even think that you're tired."

Once the long day ended, however, Fisher looked forward to the chance to sleep in.

"We don't come in until noon on Wednesday," she said. "We can do this. We can make it through another year."

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