While many Iowans are looking forward to taking the weekend off from the grind of work, there’ll be precious little rest over the next several days for the state’s tax preparers. Jeff Strawhacker, a certified public accountant in West Des Moines, says with the deadline to file federal taxes looming on Tuesday, it’s crunch time for him and his staff.
"It’s been a very busy tax season. We’ve seen a number of people actually come in later than normal this year. We’re at a very high volume right now and we’re working very hard and the next couple of days will probably be very hectic for us," Strawhacker says.
He says there are primarily two reasons why so many people are procrastinating on this year’s tax task. "There was some late-year tax legislation that pushed back the electronic filing season a few days, so that delayed some people," Strawhacker says. "A lot of the major brokerages were actually delayed in getting their 10-99 forms out to people so that put people back anywhere from two to four weeks."
The accountant has mixed feelings about this time of year. While it’s sort of thrilling for a C-P-A, like being a quarterback on a football field with time running down on the clock, Strawhacker says it’s also the most stressful, time-consuming, attention-demanding, sleep-depriving several days of the year.
"It’s a little bit of both," he says. "It’s the excitement that it’s almost over but it’s also the dread that there’s only so many hours to get the work done and we do the best we can and just hopefully, we get them all done for everybody." Strawhacker says a little attention paid to your taxes throughout the year could pay much larger dividends when April arrives.
He says: "Plan ahead during the year on the taxes. April is not really the time to start working your taxes. You really need to start working on them in May, June. Keep them in the back of your mind throughout the year. It makes the tax season process a lot smoother." And will he be heading off on vacation come April 16th? No, as there are still plenty of state tax forms to complete before the end of the month, in addition to a host of other accounting duties. Maybe in late May, he sighs.