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October 15, 2007

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Robert D Flach

Trish-

I am one of the experienced tax preparers who remember the madness of April 15th. There were times, in the “good old days”, when the last client left our office at 3:00 AM on April 16th! I used to make a run to the main Post Office each April 15th at about 11:30 PM.

In the very beginning of my career we even had a client who always came to us on the day after the current deadline to file the prior years return – consistently a year and a day late!

We also had several clients, two in particular, who always came in on the last day to have their returns prepared. When Wally, a police officer who was always the last person on the last day, walked in the door we knew the season was finally over. One year Moe, the other last day regular, came in on April 12th. We told him to go away and come back on April 15th.

This was when we had a storefront office.

Nowadays, as I work out of my home, April 15th and October 15th are laid back days. To honor last day regular Moe, one of the PATH Emergency Response Team members who was killed on September 11th, I no longer work on 1040s on April 15th (or 16th or 17th if the deadline is extended). As a general rule, any tax return not in my hands, with all the information necessary to complete the return, by March 31st is automatically extended. I am toying with telling clients this coming January that I may not even accept tax returns after March 31st – to cut down on the GD extensions.

As for October 15th – if a client waits this long to give me his/her tax “stuff” it is just too bad for the client! He/she deserves to file late. Perhaps a penalty assessment will cause him/her to be on time next year. I will not “stop everything” on October 15th to complete a newly received return from scratch.

As I tell my clients, I will not rush through a return, and risk error, just to meet an arbitrary deadline.

TWTP

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