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Last-minute mailers file returns on deadline

April 19, 2006|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN

Every year, he puts off filing his tax returns until the day of the deadline or shortly before.

But this year, Danny Sparacino said he wanted to change that. His New Year's resolution was to file his returns as soon as he received his forms.

It didn't happen.

He was one of many area residents at the U.S. Post Office on Franklin Street in Hagerstown taking advantage of last-minute mailing Tuesday night.

"Like many other resolutions, it went by the wayside," said Sparacino, of Hagerstown. "It just always ends up being the last minute."

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Tuesday was the deadline to file federal and state tax paperwork for Maryland residents. The traditional deadline, April 15, was extended in Maryland due to a legal holiday Monday in Massachusetts - where income tax returns are sent.

Sparacino said if the deadline had remained April 15, he would have been on time.

"If it gets extended, though, so does my deadline," he said.

Tammy Parrish of Hagerstown was at the post office Tuesday mailing her son's income tax forms. She does his taxes and said this year she was busy and didn't have enough time to mail them before the deadline.

"There was just no time to do it," she said.

Mail carrier John Russell of Chambersburg, Pa., stood outside for two hours Tuesday until 8 p.m. collecting last-minute tax forms. He said he did the same thing last year and noticed that there were fewer people Tuesday who had waited to mail their forms.

Cliff Pereschuk of Boonsboro said he intentionally waited to mail his tax forms because he wasn't getting a refund.

"I wanted to hang on to my money for as long as possible," he said.

Sue Thomas of Hagerstown said she also owed some money and wanted to put off mailing the check until the last day.

"As long as I owe, I'll wait," she said. "I think if I was getting a refund, I might try to do it earlier."

Like many others at the post office Tuesday night, Thomas said she usually waits until the last minute, but her returns also are always on time.

"I'm a procrastinator, basically," said Heather Nichols of Hagerstown.

She completed her federal tax return online and mailed her state return Tuesday.

"I always do it at the last minute," Nichols said. "This year was worse than normal, though."

She said a busy work schedule that includes commuting to Gaithersburg, Md., each day kept her from sending her tax forms earlier.

Eric Gerber of Smithsburg completed and mailed his tax forms Tuesday.

"It just seems like I put it off and put it off," he said. "It's just my personality to put things off."

Doris Giffin of Sharpsburg said she was filing returns for herself and her deceased husband. Giffin said it is rare that she waits so long to send her forms, but this year she forgot about the deadline.

"I would remember," she said. "Then I would forget again. I just forgot about them ... totally forgot."

She remembered again Monday and tried to have an accountant fill out the forms for her. Her accountant was unavailable, and Giffin waited until Tuesday afternoon to have the income tax forms completed.

"I think I'll get them done earlier next year," she said.

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