Tax deadline extended

Procrastinators rejoice!

Procrastinators rejoice!

You have two extra days to put off filing your income tax. Normally due at midnight on April 30, payment for 2015 income taxes has been extended to midnight on Monday because this year’s deadline is on the weekend, say tax preparers set up at Bower Place in Red Deer.

While there are always a few people who put it off to the last minute, the reality in the last four years or so is that fewer people are waiting until the last minute to bring their taxes in, said Carolyn Fraser, a tax preparer working in the Personal Tax Services kiosk at the east side of the mall.

“We don’t do the instant refund. Ours are electronically filed and our clientele has stayed steady,” said Fraser.

People who are comfortable with a computer and whose tax returns are fairly straight forward are finding it fairly easy to file their own returns, using free or relatively inexpensive software, said Fraser.

“So, in the last four or five years, we haven’t been getting as much of a panic at the end.”

Those whose income is on someone else’s payroll should not necessarily expect a refund on the taxes they’ve paid out through the year, said Fraser.

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A good payroll department will have tax deductions worked out so that employees in normal circumstances will finish their year with a very small balance coming back or a very small amount owing.

That’s the way the income tax system is set up, said Fraser.

“They didn’t set it up to take all this money from you and then give it back.”

Refunds become more likely if there are deductible expenses, such as moving, RRSPs or tuition fees, she said.

People are more likely to need help with their taxes if they have different sources of income, including self employment.

The bottom line for everyone is that any monies left owing on their tax accounts has to be paid up by midnight on Monday or suffer the penalties. Farms and businesses have until June 30 to file their returns, but the tax payments are still due on May 2. Most farms and small businesses will have made quarterly or monthly installments to accommodate the deadline.

For anyone who hasn’t filed their taxes yet, arriving at the mall at 8 p.m. on Monday will be too late to hit that deadline, said Marlena Bullee, a tax preparer at the H&R Block kiosk set up in the Hudson’s Bay store at the west side of the mall.

Because of mall and store hours, the kiosk will shut down at 9 p.m. on Monday, said Bullee. Therefore, anyone who needs to hit that midnight deadline is going to have to come in well before closing hours so tax preparers will have time to review and complete their returns, she said.

There was no sign of a last-minute panic at the mall kiosk, although the company’s Clearview Market office was quite busy, said Bullee.

“I think that our location isn’t as well known,” she said.

“The boss lady says she’s hoping that May 2nd is going to be crazy busy, so I guess we’ll see here.”

H&R Block will maintain a full staff through to deadline, anticipating that there may be a last-minute rush, said Bullee.

The remittance can be paid online by anyone who has a Canada Revenue Agency account number, she said.

bkossowan@bprda.wpengine.com

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