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Residents find Monday more taxing than usual


Tax-filing philosophies vary depending on who owes what

Helen Kehoe normally gets her federal and state income tax returns in early.

Judging by the forms and stamps she shuffled through on Monday afternoon at the U.S. Post Office on Betts Avenue, this year was different.

“I’m usually a lot better and get my taxes done ahead of time,” she said. “But there’s been a lot going on in my life. Sending Oregon taxes totally slipped my mind until this morning.”

A Nike employee who lives near Providence St. Vincent Medical Center in Southwest Portland, Kehoe was not alone in her delayed reaction to filing taxes, which required a postmark of by midnight on April 15 to be on time. Just after lunchtime Monday, the line to the automated stamp machine in the lobby of the Betts Avenue office was five- to 10 deep. Many folks clutched white envelopes in their hands addressed to the Internal Revenue Service and the Oregon Department of Revenue.

In 2012, 78 percent of people filed their taxes online, according to the IRS. But millions of taxpayers were expected to drop their returns in the mail on Monday, reported KOIN-6 TV, a Pamplin Media Group news partner.

Kehoe had filed her federal returns online ahead of time, using the TurboTax service. Determined to file her state returns manually to avoid TurboTax’s $30 fee, she almost forgot to follow through with the final paperwork.

“I looked at my kitchen table and there was an unsent set of paperwork,” she said. “But I had a plan.”

On her way down the sidewalk toward the post office to mail her federal return, Vicki Pangborn learned earlier from her accountant that she would receive a rare refund of her Oregon taxes. The owner of Northwest Garden Maintenance, 6739 S.W. Taurus Place, Pangborn admitted she likes to wait until the day of to send in the federal income tax payment she inevitably owes.

“I own my own business, so I always (owe). I like to hold onto my money as long as I can before I send anything out,” she said.

A lot of Pangborn’s clients have mentioned having a heavier than usual tax burden this year.

“One customer, who also owns his own business, said it was a profitable year,” she said, noting his tax bill went up along with the profit. “You would think (profit) would be a good thing. But now he’s paying for it.”

Bill Leise, a 52-year resident of Central Beaverton, said he’s never had a reason to be a last-minute income tax filer.

“No, I don’t mess around with the last-minute thing,” he said, noting the unusual buzz of post office activity on Monday. “We get ours in way ahead of time, especially when we know we have something coming back.”

Like father, not like son.

“My son waited until Sunday to figure out his taxes. He did it online,” Leise said. “I guess if I had to pay, I’d be inclined to pay at the last minute, too.”

Enjoying a casual lunch at the Beaverton Sub Station on Southwest Broadway Street, Cornelius resident John Bowne said he — or more precisely his wife — filed his taxes on Friday.

“We always owe money, so there’s no sense in doing it earlier than you need to,” he said.

He thought he owed slightly less than last year. “My wife does it, so (the process) doesn’t bother me much at all. I don’t think she looks forward to it.”

Visiting Beaverton from the San Francisco Bay Area, Leo Acosta said his usual practice of filing as soon as his W-2 forms arrive in the mail — and getting a healthy refund in return — backfired this year. He found he was penalized to the tune of thousands for a technicality he overlooked from a few years ago.

“I was supposed to be getting $4,000 back, but instead I got back $800,” he said. “They went back to 2009, when I owed a penalty. I read that I owe this X amount.”

Despite overpaying her state taxes, Pangborn’s not holding her breath for the refund’s arrival.

“I guess,” she said with a resigned chuckle, “I’ll see that in October or so.”