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John Dickey
Eileen JoyceCustomers wait in line to mail their taxes at the Grass Valley post office Monday.
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

Whether they dreaded filling out complicated returns or wanted to hang onto their money until the last minute, there was no shortage of citizens Monday willing to face down the April 15 deadline for filing income taxes.

Christine Golden went to the Grass Valley Post Office Monday afternoon after work to pick up forms to go home and do her taxes.

“I’m really stressed out,” said Golden.

The 40-year-old Grass Valley resident said she put off doing her taxes because it was the first time she has filled them out in a while. Her husband had filled out the returns in previous years, until they divorced.

Debbie King was in the post office Monday mailing her returns.

The co-owner of King Realty in Grass Valley with her husband, King said she didn’t want to send her money in any earlier than necessary.

“Why pay before I have to?” said King, who has an accountant do her taxes.

King said taxes are too high and the paperwork too burdensome.

Plenty of other people were mailing returns Monday, one of the busiest days of the year for the U.S. Postal Service. The Internal Revue Service expects 132 million tax returns to be filed this year, with 23 percent of them mailed Monday.

At the H&R Block offices on South Auburn Street, 150 returns had been prepared by 3 p.m. Monday.

April 15 isn’t usually the H&R Block office’s busiest day – that typically occurs in late January or early February after wage-withholding statements come out.

This year, April 15 seemed busier than normal, though, said Jillian Winchester, assistant manager of the Grass Valley office.

“Everybody around here’s generally pretty organized, so I’m surprised to see all this activity today,” she said.

This year may have added a new twist to the annual last-minute rush.

Stock market losses from the post-Sept. 11 economic downturn and the dot-com implosion could be part of the explanation for the unusual last-minute rush, said Winchester. Another factor could be that more people owed money.

This tax season is the time many can write off losses from a fallen stock market, and they may not have wanted to know how much they lost, said Winchester.

“They have a good idea, but it’s not on paper,” she said. “Now they know.”

Other perennial reasons that people give for waiting until the last minute include fear of taxes, lost paperwork, forgetting about the deadline and a dislike of paying taxes, said Winchester.

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