NJ tax offices work long days and late nights for last-minute filers
Due to the 15th of April falling on a Sunday, and Monday being the Washington, D.C., holiday known as Emancipation Day, the deadline to file your taxes was pushed back to April 17 this year.
That's two extra days for you to procrastinate, as well as two extra days for accountants in New Jersey to pull their hair out.
Most tax-preparation offices in the state didn't even have a minute to spare when I gave them a ring. It's pure chaos this time of year as New Jersey's procrastinators attempt to file their returns in time for the Tuesday deadline.
"Working until midnight or 2 a.m. is not unusual," said Kendal Ludden, a certified public accountant with Badran Tax & Accounting in New Brunswick.
Ludden handles clients from across the country, so when it's late in New Jersey, folks elsewhere are still looking for immediate help.
The office stopped taking appointments on Friday, but staff can help individuals file for an extension.
An extension also must be filed by the 17th, and you still have to pay taxes owed in order to avoid penalties.
Kelly Vostal, owner of Integrity Tax & Accounting in Manasquan, said "things started heating up" in mid-March, and it's been non-stop since.
"At this time of year, I usually work about 16 hours a day," she said. "I'm tired and my patience wears thin."
Vostal, who typically works on a drop-off and pick-up basis, prepares about 12 returns per day, depending on individuals' circumstances.
Crunch time is a 24-hour operation for CSI Group and its 14 New Jersey offices, according to CPA Peter Greco. All offices are booked, he said, but they reserve time for new clients.
"Fifty years in the business — I never get tired of this," Greco said.
Still, Greco advises residents to get the tax-prep process started earlier than later so they're not forced by the clock to rush and miss out on certain deductions.
The Internal Revenue Services expects refunds will go out to more than 70 percent of taxpayers this year.