Last-minute tax filers may be fewer in number this year

Many acted earlier to get quick refunds

This time last year in the Grand Valley, the energy industry was bustling right along, the housing market was strong and everyone who wanted a job had one.

What a difference a year makes.

Natural gas companies have laid down drilling rigs and laid off workers, home sales have hit a virtual standstill and the unemployment rate has soared to its highest level in 20 years.

Though many local accountants will find themselves buried in paperwork right up until Wednesday’s 11:59 p.m. deadline for income tax filing, the faltering economy might help explain why Peggy Catlin, a senior tax adviser with H&R Block in Grand Junction, wasn’t completely overwhelmed last week. Catlin said the office seemed busier in the weeks and months leading up to the deadline, as people sought refunds earlier this year.

“We seem to be not as busy this week,” Catlin said late last week, “because they want to get
their refund back because they don’t have any income.”

The poor economy also may have led people to believe they will receive a stimulus check in the mail like last year, Catlin said. But that’s not true. A small reduction in income tax will show up in people’s paychecks.

Beyond that, Catlin said there haven’t been any other changes that would create confusion for last-minute filers.


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