This is to all those people who have yet to file their 2008 tax return and are planning to get it done by October 15th; I would get it to your preparer today, tomorrow at the latest. This is not the time to procrastinate to the due date. October 15th is not a delayed April 15th. You might get a nasty surprise.
There are major similarities between the two days. First, they are a tax filing deadline for individual tax returns. They are also the due date for many payroll reports. The differences are in the details.
The first is available time. My (or any preparer's) time. From the first part of January through April 15th, I devote most of my time to taxes. I go home to sleep and clean up. Food is drive through and microwavable stuff at my desk. A trip to the grocery store is grab and go and hope I remember my lists. By October 15th, I have time back. I've cut office hours back and actually leave the building to run errands and take days off. No late appointments since I have rehearsals. I may do some office tasks on the weekend but only if it's for my convenience. Returns are done only during office hours and they compete with CPEs and running a business for time.
The next issue is attitude. Some of it is mine. I'm a little tired of this year's tax returns. I want to get to the new stuff. But, the attitude of the clients I see this late can be very off-putting. Too many are groveling or rude. October 15th has a little more finality to it than April 15th. You can't e-file individual returns after October 15th and there are no more extensions. When late filing clients find that I may not get their return back to them as quickly as they would like, in creeps attitude. I hear all kinds of sob stories as to why they were not in earlier as if that will make the return easier or faster to do. Or they try to impose what they think I should be doing on me. They get rude because I won't change my life around to accommodate them. They've had an extra 6 months to get this done yet they expect me to drop my life to clean up their mess. I'll clean away but on my schedule.
Numbers play a big part on time I allot to the office. The last couple of weeks before April 15th, I will take in about 30 returns. I will also field lots of calls about refunds, vouchers, taxes and payments. I don't have a problem working longer if I am going to be helping clients and making money. But I fail to see why some expect me to give up my life to see if they are going to show up. Today. the only phone call was someone wanting to sell me health insurance and the only tax work was payroll reports. But I bet one of the outstanding extensions will drop by while I am out this afternoon and be surprised I'm not here. (Not as surprised as they may be when I won't promise to have the return done in a couple of days.)
There are extreme circumstances a taxpayer can't control but those clients always seem the most willing to work with you. The bottom line is taxpayers have had plenty of time to get their records together and get in to see their preparer but they didn't. It is unreasonable to expect a preparer to drop everything when they didn't.