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Procrastinators file taxes

April 16, 2003|by MARLO BARNHART and TAMELA BAKER

marlob@herald-mail.com
tammyb@herald-mail.com

As last-minute tax filers came and went from the Hagerstown Post Office Tuesday evening, they probably had no idea they were passing by the champ of the procrastinators - sitting on the concrete steps outside the West Franklin Street building still filling out her tax forms at 7:30 p.m.

"I have done this every year for the last 13 years," said Tammy Peters of Hagerstown. "I don't know why I do it but I do."

Peters, who works at Mount St. Mary's College in Emmitsburg, Md., at least had good weather this year as she worked feverishly to complete her forms before 8 p.m.

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"I get a refund so that's not why I file so late," Peters said. "I probably won't be getting mine back for a while."

Letter carriers Mark Mathias and John Mertz were out at the curb around 5:30 p.m., taking completed and stamped tax envelopes from motorists who were driving by at a steady pace Tuesday evening.

"We're probably not doing much for the traffic patterns in downtown Hagerstown," Mertz said.

Mathias estimated several hundred tax envelopes had been dropped off between 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. - 30 minutes before the 8 p.m. closing deadline for the April 15 postmark.

Both Mertz and Mathias said they were first-timers working the curbside service. Mertz was doing the weighing while Mathias was running up to vehicles as windows rolled down and tax envelopes were handed out.

Debora Burnett of Hagerstown walked up with forms in hand but was quick to point out they weren't hers.

"I filed early," Burnett said, noting she not only was mailing those forms for her son, she got them done for him, too.

"I hope he appreciates me," Burnett said.

Earlier Tuesday, when asked why she waited until the deadline to mail her tax returns, Luminita Enciu, 35, of Hagerstown, shrugged.

"I have no idea," she said. "I had no reason to save it for the last day." In fact, Enciu said she was getting a refund.

So was Annie Alencherry, 45, of Hagerstown. But that wasn't incentive enough to file her tax returns early.

"I do this every year," Alencherry said earlier Tuesday. "I just can't get myself organized."

Mary Becraft, 52, lives in Falling Waters, W.Va., but works in Hagerstown. She said she'll be paying one government and getting a refund from the other. But that wasn't the only reason she held off filing until the last day.

"I'm a procrastinator," she said.

Still, Peters seems to rank as the champ. Waiting patiently by Peters' side were her daughter, Ashley, 10, and son, Ryan, 1 month.

"They were both born early so maybe that means they won't be like me when they do their taxes," Peters said.

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