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April  17

What's the Definition of Procrastinate?

Today is the absolute last day you can postmark your taxes without penalty or filing an extension. Bring your camera to the post office and send us pictures of the procrastinators at [email protected]

UPDATE: Local post office hours. Glen Ridge lobby closes at 4:30 pm. Bloomfield and Montclair main PO lobbies close at 7 pm. Newark Main PO at 2 Federal Square closes at 9 pm. Tax returns dropped in mailboxes at those locations after the lobbies close will NOT be postmarked April 17. For more post office info, go to www.usps.com.

Any thoughts, tax or otherwise -- we've just declared this space the daily chat.

April 17, 2006 in The Daily Chat | Permalink


The def on procrastinate.... I'll get back to you on that.

Posted by: lasermike026 | Apr 17, 2006 10:17:08 AM

Are all of the area post offices open "late" tonight? Are any??

Posted by: John | Apr 17, 2006 10:21:59 AM

You get an extra-day break if you live in New England or New York because of Patriot's Day. When NY became part of New England, I don't know but they're entitled to it.

Posted by: Miss Martta | Apr 17, 2006 10:22:23 AM

As Ellen Degeneres says: Procrastinate now -- don't put it off until later. You may never get another chance to do nothing.

Posted by: Jessica | Apr 17, 2006 10:56:55 AM

I'm getting maybe $120 back in taxes, I will be rich yaaay!

Posted by: katie | Apr 17, 2006 11:08:44 AM

I thought I was withholding the right amount, but got tagged by the insidious AMT. Another approx. $3,500 down the federal sinkhole, to make my tax burden fall in the technical category of "whopping big crapload". For non-economists, "whopping big crapload" is greater than a "big crapload" and approximately three and a half times more than a mere "bucketload".

Posted by: appletony | Apr 17, 2006 11:21:20 AM

Withholding is one of he biggest scams going. They've got the nation brainwashed into thinking refunds are a good thing. If you're getting a refund, you've given the gov't an interest-free loan of YOUR money. Better to pay a little (but not the aforementioned whopping big crapload) on 4/15.

Posted by: crank | Apr 17, 2006 11:38:10 AM

When I live on the west coast the post office would actually set up remote stations in mall parking lots that took returns right up until the clock struck midnight. I always wondered who was actually driving up there at the last minute!

I however will send my returns postmarked todays since I am not due a refund

Posted by: anonymous | Apr 17, 2006 11:43:50 AM

I agree with Crank. I like to try and break even. I always ending up owing NY, though. As if I don't spend enough here on lunch and other incidentals.

Posted by: Miss Martta | Apr 17, 2006 11:45:34 AM

My withheld amount was at least a big crapload already. In January, I did a quick estimation of taxes due, and it looked like my withholding was within a couple hundred of tax owed -- but, like Monty Python's Spanish Inquisition, nobody expects the AMT!

Posted by: appletony | Apr 17, 2006 11:51:57 AM

Go to the bank I mentioned in the "Surprise Surprise" thread where they gave me $2000, you might get lucky too.

Posted by: crank | Apr 17, 2006 11:58:24 AM

Last year I brought my NJ return to the Livingston post office. They indicated that they would be open to midnight. Don't know if they will continue the tradition this year. Also in previous years the Caldwell and Morristown post offices were opened to midnight.

Posted by: softrider | Apr 17, 2006 12:02:19 PM

Martta: New York has always been owned by New England. Or is that the other way around? I give up.

Posted by: Conan the Grammarian | Apr 17, 2006 12:34:26 PM

Martta, apparently the NY returns are processed in MA (dunno why), so that's why there's an extra day for those of us bridge and tunnel crossers.

Posted by: Diane | Apr 17, 2006 1:26:55 PM

Gosh Gee, as a member of the Procrastinators Society of America I am just sending out my 2005 Christmas Cards, not sure when I'll get around to sending in those 1040 forms?

Posted by: Franklin | Apr 17, 2006 2:25:41 PM

I think NY got the same Patriots Day perhaps when they obtained Johnny Damon. huh?

BTW, I went to one of those Mailing Places (fed Ex, UPS, etc)on Valley Rd. next to CVS.
There was no line and I even mailed it with the Post Office certifed mail receipt, etc.

Posted by: JT | Apr 17, 2006 3:08:40 PM

appletony, your "mistake" on your tax return, as a recent article in the WSJ pointed out, was that you actually took some of those deductions the IRS so graciously gives you, such as for child care. Thus making you subject to the AMT, which is almost always higher than what you'd owe based on the tax tables. The government is a crafty foe.

Next year, you might wish to check out if you really need all those "deductions" (other than the standard one and for your property taxes and mortgage). And then if without them, since you wouldn't then be subject to the AMT, you'd actually be better off. One accountant I know says that yes, you are indeed usually better off by never taking anything that triggers the AMT.

Posted by: cathar | Apr 17, 2006 3:35:51 PM

Cathar, I don't get fancy with my deductions: home mortgage interest (solely from the mortgages used to buy my home -- no using my home equity to fund other purchases), charitable contributions and a capital loss carryforward (used up this year). I cannot deduct my student loan interest.

Posted by: appletony | Apr 17, 2006 3:54:05 PM

Anyway, since I filed an extension (and paid calculated amount due), I can try not itemizing and pick which way to go. I doubt I'll be better off, though, since AMT is 26% or 28% after first $45K, but still grants a net benefit with mortgage not completely phased out at my income level. A quick look at the tax tables without deductions makes me think I'd pay more, but it's worth a try.

Posted by: appletony | Apr 17, 2006 4:03:05 PM

Appletony, I realize you don't get "fancy" with your deductions. You just have to watch out for those that trigger the AMT and you have to figure your tax without those deductions and with them even if they trigger use of the AMT. The idea is that the IRS knows how much extra work this is, and how most people also think they should take every deduction they're qualified for. But the true cunning of the tax laws is that, once you do so, you set off the "alarm bells" of the AMT. I realize that many lawyers and CPA's think the IRS is made up of second-stringers, but these same second-stringers have the tax code on their side. And the AMT is indeed the sneakiest of features, as you learned this year and I did a few years back.

Posted by: cathar | Apr 17, 2006 4:03:57 PM

Given your extension, yes, you can now figure out which way to go. But if it turns out you've overpaid, the government has had free use of your refund for a quarter of the year. They really are pretty sly.

Still, it sounds better to me than Florida's "ad valorem" tax, which someone explained to me just the other day. Now there is a great way to make money while still steadfastly denying that your state has an income tax.

I was friends for 25 years with an accountant turned tax writer for Prentice-Hall, who for his clients and himself never once filed a New York City tax return. He always assured me that the sums were so small and the bureaucracy so screwed up in NYC that they'd never catch him or his clients. And as far as I know (although I wasn't in contact with him the last 7 years of his life), he was always right on that one.

Posted by: cathar | Apr 17, 2006 4:10:18 PM

I don't understand how paying NY State tax or NYC taxes are Constitutional. By what authority am I compelled to pay tax in a jurisdiction in which I cannot vote? What recourse have I if I think they are not spending my money wisely?

Posted by: Right of Center™ | Apr 17, 2006 4:19:19 PM

No worry there -- I guarantee that there's no prospect for a meaningful refund.

Posted by: appletony | Apr 17, 2006 4:22:50 PM

ROC: I agree with you 110%! But try telling that to Bloomberg and Pataki!

Posted by: Miss Martta | Apr 17, 2006 4:23:00 PM

you get to pick where you work and ROC, you knew that you'd be paying NYC and NY state taxes when you started working there.

it was your decision.

Posted by: pissant | Apr 17, 2006 4:28:59 PM

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