Last-minute filers cause headaches for accountants

One accountant recommends anyone filing tax paperwork on April 15 ask for an extension.

One accountant said while taxpayers can wait until the afternoon of April 15 to file their paperwork, doing so increases the risk for mistakes.

Samantha Minchew told KRCG 13 about 10 percent of her clients wait until April 15 to file their taxes. In addition, about 25 of the roughly 400 people she works with have filed for extensions until October 15. She said the number of people who file at the last minute or ask for extensions is about the same every year. Minchew said last-minute filing makes the workload on accountants much greater.

"We're rushed to get the returns done. The quality declines if we don't have time to get it done," she said.

For this reason, Minchew said anyone filing this close to the deadline should get an extension so accountants have time to make sure they get everything right. Extensions will help people avoid late penalties, though Minchew said you would still need to pay interest.

In Columbia Tuesday afternoon, several residents said they waited until the last minute to put off the pain of paying their taxes as long as possible. Steve Jackson and Carrol Dempsey both told KRCG 13 they wait until the last day to get as much mileage out of their income as they can. Jackie Conrad, who recently moved to Missouri from Arizona, said she was frustrated that she had to pay taxes for both states in addition to her federal taxes. She was able to e-file her federal and Arizona taxes but had to mail in her Missouri taxes.

"I didn't want to pay it, so I waited until the last possible minute," she said. "Then I figured I'd better go down and mail it."

According to the IRS, 91 percent of taxpayers will file their returns electronically this year. Minchew said e-filing means you can get your taxes in even if you submit them right before the midnight deadline. Filing by mail works as long as your paperwork is postmarked no later than April 15, though she noted doing this means an IRS staffer has to physically process the paperwork. That takes time and increases the margin for error. The Columbia post office told KRCG 13 filers need to turn in their paperwork by 7 p.m. if they want to send it by mail. That is when the last pickup takes place.