- Days left
Band plays for last-minute tax filersTo the tune of "Shaft" played by the Columbia University marching band, dozens of income-tax filers raced up the steps of New York City's main post office Thursday near midnight. The deadline that so many Americans dread had arrived.

Inside, hundreds fidgeted in line and scribbled on forms and checks wherever they could find a flat surface. It was a moment played out in post offices across the country. About 20% of taxpayers submit their returns within the last two weeks, the IRS estimates. Anthony Diaz was proud to occupy the extremely late end of that bunch.

"I love the excitement," Diaz told WalletPop. Diaz, a 53-year-old actor, turns his annual 11th-hour pilgrimage to pay his respects to Uncle Sam into a social occasion. He brought his daughter and son-in-law, promising to reward them with a chicken dinner in Manhattan.

Paul Pimsler, a 55-year-old musician, explained that his accountant had readied his return just hours earlier. "I've never gone to the wire like this," he said.

At least he made it. As the clock struck midnight, cops stationed themselves at the end of each line, denying latecomers the prized April 15 postmark to avoid paying penalties. They would join the estimated 10 million or so who were expected to file for an extension.

With 66% of Americans now e-filing, according to Mint.com, and lots of do-it-yourself software available, the hustle and bustle in a brick-and-mortar post office seemed dated. Blanca Riveros, a 51-year-old hair stylist, wondered aloud why her preparer had not submitted her return through the Internet. "As a matter of fact, I need to change my accountant," she said.

Some arrived dangerously close to the witching hour because of other priorities. Bobby Ciafardini, a broadcaster for BronxNet, a local cable channel, had just covered the Yankees' game in the Bronx. "I'm always last-minute with the taxes, but never late with the postage," he said.

None of those interviewed said they were getting a refund. One man who asked not to be identified expressed the sentiments of many by snickering, "So what's the hurry?"

Outside, the conductor of the Columbia band exhorted his charges to keep playing, but many had already put away their instruments. At 12:15 a.m., people who were lined up at a mobile postal unit on the sidewalk said they were informed that they would still receive an April 15 postmark.

For those anxious citizens, it might have been the last favor the government would grant this tax season.


Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Goal Setting

Want to succeed? Then you need goals!

View Course »

Understanding Credit Scores

Credit scores matter -- learn how to improve your score.

View Course »

TurboTax Articles

Deducting Summer Camps and Daycare with the Child and Dependent Care Credit

If you paid a daycare center, babysitter, summer camp, or other care provider to care for a qualifying child under age 13 or a disabled dependent of any age, you may qualify for a tax credit of up to up to 35 percent of qualifying expenses of $3,000 for one child or dependent, or up to $6,000 for two or more children or dependents.

Video: Who Qualifies for an Affordable Care Act Exemption (Obamacare)?

The Affordable Care Act requires all Americans to have health insurance or pay a tax penalty. But, who qualifies for an Affordable Care Act exemption? Find out more about who qualifies for an exemption from the Affordable Care Act tax penalty, how to claim an exemption on your tax return and how the Affordable Care Act may affect your taxes with this video from TurboTax.

What Is Schedule H: Household Employment Taxes

If you hire people to do work around your house on a regular basis, they might be considered household employees. Being an employer comes with some responsibilities for paying and reporting employment taxes, which includes filing a Schedule H with your federal tax return. But even if you have household employees, filing Schedule H is required only if the total wages you pay them is more than certain threshold amounts specified by federal tax law.

Taxable Income vs. Nontaxable Income: What You Should Know

Knowing what to claim as taxable and nontaxable income can reduce your tax liability. Income can be acquired in many forms, including wages, salaries, interest, tips and commissions. ?Consider all money that increases your wealth as taxable,? advises accountant Caroline Thompson. ?There is very little that is nontaxable. The government specifically lists anything that is not taxable and the circumstances that must exist or occur for it to be non-taxed income,? she adds.

What Are the Tax Penalties for Smokers?

Starting in 2014, the Individual Shared Responsibility provision of the Affordable Care Act made you responsible for having minimum essential coverage, or MEC, in health insurance. Otherwise, you need to be eligible for a health care exemption, or you could pay a penalty when filing your income tax return. This requirement for minimum essential coverage applies to smokers and nonsmokers alike. If you?re not covered by an employer's health plan and are a smoker, you can go to the health care marketplace to find MEC. If you?re still unable to comply, you may have a penalty applied.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum