Tax deadline runs smoothly with good planning

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 13, 2003

With Vickie Bowen in charge of the local H&R Block, things run smoothly, even in the weeks leading up to the mid-April tax filing deadline. In fact, it might be appropriate to say that potentially taxing times for accountants and last-minute filers are turned into many happy returns.

"People know this April 15 deadline is coming up and we can plan for it," Bowen said. "One guy even scheduled an appointment for 3:00 on the 15th."

The office is immaculate. There are no stacks of papers falling over, no receipts and pay stubs blowing in the wind and no filing cabinets overflowing with crumpled documents. No one is sobbing. Even at crunch time, everything is still planned out and on schedule.

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That sort of planning is critical, not only for those looking to pay the government a share of their earnings, but for companies like Bowen's that assist in the process. Forethought and professionalism keep the office on North Three Notch Street a calm and inviting environment amid the hustle and bustle of numbers being crunched.

"When I get done with a client, there are usually three or four more waiting to see me and a handful of phone messages," Bowen said.

But she takes them one at a time and she and her team provide financial advice to each person that comes through the door.

What advice would she give to those who have yet to mail away tax documents to the government?

Get your records in order and don't panic. H&R Block material advises citizens to organize W-2 forms, 1099s and other relevant receipts and documents. For details on IRA contributions and potential penalties for late filing, Bowen said she and her staff can provide some answers, including the latest changes to tax codes.

"I just kept putting it off and putting it off," said Margaret Frazier, who lives in Brundidge but works in Troy.

Frazier was waiting patiently for her turn with some of the financial professionals at H&R Block.

"There's not enough time in the day to do things," she said. "But I always put things off until the last possible minute."