With the changes in the tax laws this year, more people than usual were streaming to tax offices to have their documents filed professionally. Many, though, have yet to file.
Norma Resor, a Norwalk H&R Block tax professional, and Aaron Ortner, owner of Norwalk’s Liberty Tax, agreed both businesses have seen a steady flow of filers over the course of the tax season. Both said they also feel the crunch as many rush to file last minute.
“It’s been pretty busy,” Resor said. “We’ve gotten a lot of (people dropping off their taxes to be filed) too. Usually we don’t have as many drop-offs as we did this year. I think people are procrastinating or with all the changes going on in the law, a lot of people are afraid they’re going to owe money and so they don’t want to file.”
Ortner agreed, adding the family-owned-and-operated Liberty Tax has seen a “nice uptick in business.”
“A lot of people are coming in because of the change in the law and are confused or worried about not filing it right,” he said. “This last week we certainly had a big swing up in procrastinators coming in. I expect this weekend to be very busy, and on Monday for people to be asking for extensions because they just forgot.”
Resor said encouraged everyone to have taxes filed by Monday, even those who are afraid to file because they don’t feel like they can pay what will be owed should.
“Get your taxes filed so you don’t have any penalties,” she said. “Even if you can’t pay, it’s always better to file so you don’t have failure-to-file penalties as well. And you can always set it up to make payments.”
In addition to federal, state and school district taxes, Norwalk residents need to file their city income tax.
In 2017, Norwalk made an agreement with Ohio’s Regional Income Tax Agency (RITA), a tax prep service, ending the policy of mailing or bringing city income tax forms to City Hall. Residents now can file electronically.
Regarding this new system, finance director Michelle Reeder said “some love it; some hate it,” which is to be expected, she added.
“As far as the city goes, though, it’s been a great move for us,” Reeder said. “RITA has one job and that’s income taxes. They do that one job extremely well.”
Norwalk hasn’t received any complaints about residents not receiving the postcard reminding them to file their city taxes through RITA, she said.
“But, also, it’s just like IRS,” Reeder added. “They don’t remind you to file your taxes either. You have to take some responsibility here. Death and taxes really are the only things you can count on today.”
Mailing your taxes
With the deadline for filing tax returns rapidly approaching, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) reminded last-minute filers to pay special attention to collection box pick-up times and post office retail hours Monday.
Here are some tax tips from the USPS:
• On April 15, mail early in the day at any post office, station, branch or collection box.
• If depositing returns in a collection box on April 15, double-check the pick-up schedule on the label. To ensure getting the April 15 postmark, deposit returns before the last scheduled pick-up time.
• Stamped packages weighing more than 13 ounces must be presented in person to a post office clerk to comply with federal regulations.
• Affix the appropriate postage, especially since the item may weigh more than an ounce. Have a postal sales and service associate weigh and rate the item for you. Tax agencies will not pay postage due and your short-paid return will be returned to sender — and you may miss the deadline (tip: Five pages equals about one ounce).
• It’s very important that your envelope has a return address. Short-paid items without a return address will be sent to the postal mail recovery office for determination of the sender, delaying its return.
• The USPS highly recommends getting the security of proof of mailing and proof of delivery of your tax returns — use certified mail service with a return receipt, plus the applicable postage.
• Tax forms are no longer available at post offices. Check at local libraries or online at www.irs.gov. (federal forms)
The postal service agency encouraged everyone to remember mail must be deposited before the last collection time at the post office or collection box Monday to receive an April 15 postmark, thus avoiding late fees.