CPAs ready for some time off

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— As more than 200 Moffat County residents protested taxes outside the courthouse, last-minute returns were being filed.

On Wednesday, certified public accountants and other tax-preparation companies were busy putting the final touches on long returns or readying forms to be mailed.

At Jackson Hewitt, customers still were trickling in to finalize their returns on the last day to file taxes.

Tuesday "we had appointments all day, and people we're still walking in," acting office manager Connie Bradshaw said. "We had to turn away some of the walk-ins we were so busy."

The busiest times, Bradshaw said, were in January, when W-2 forms are mailed out, and near the deadline.

"It seems like a lot of people wait until the very end," she said. "In January, there are a lot of people who come in to file, and it stays pretty busy through February. Then it calms down in early March, before picking up near the end of the month."

The mood after the end of tax day was celebratory at Bonaker & Associates. Following the last day of filing, not including any extensions, the employees will take some time off, owner Missy Bonaker said.

"It's very intense for 3 1/2 months," Bonaker said. "It's been seven-day weeks and 12-hour days."

The time leading up to April 15 was especially busy.

Tuesday "was busy," Bonaker said. "But, we got everything done that we needed to get done, and now we'll focus on the extensions."

Bonaker said a lot of her clients filed early. The employees joked that because of the nice weather in early March, perhaps customers thought it was April.

"People are consistent throughout the year," Bonaker said.

Lois Wymore, also of Bonaker & Associates, said people were predictable when it came to taxes.

"The late filers still filed late," Wymore said.

She said the amount of time it takes to prepare a return depends on the customer.

"Some people have good paper trails," Wymore said. "And some bring in boxes of stuff."

Some returns take longer than normal, Bonaker said.

"It varies - on Saturday I had an individual return that took six hours," Bonaker said.

Bonaker & Associates files taxes for corporations, which are due by March 15.

"Corporations are more complicated," Bonaker said. "But, we get some that are well put together.

"And after that, it's individual returns."

Because rules change so frequently, the employees of Bonaker & Associates have to attend classes every year.

"I read that there were 70 pages of changes just for this year," Wymore said.

On Wednesday, the employees of Jones and Associates were busy all day filing returns.

"The phone was ringing off the hook (Wednesday)" owner Don Jones said.

With April 15 having come to an end, the employees of Jones and Associates also will get a little down time before going back to work.

"Now, we're just getting ready for a few days off," he said. "We'll be out until next week."

Even with the late filers, business has been good for the past few months, Jones said.

"It's been really busy - the numbers have been above average, but everything's fallen in line," he said.

Jones said a lot of his customers filed their taxes earlier than usual.

"I think a lot of people filed earlier so they could get their refunds sooner rather than later," he said. "But, we've had our average number of procrastinators."

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