Settling Up with Uncle Sam

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HONESDALE -- If you've delayed filing your taxes and settling up with Uncle Sam, this weekend is your last chance before the April 15 deadline.

For CPA William McAllister, these past several weeks have been anything but quiet. He's rushing to get about 600 tax returns filed before that dreaded April 15 deadline. McAllister's been in business in Honesdale for more than 30 years and says his work days this time of year start early.

"During the week I start typically at 4 o`clock in the morning. That`s when I`m sitting here at this desk," said McAllister.

He has about 50 returns still waiting to be done and clients stopping by last-minute. Florence Shepard of Honesdale has been coming here for decades.

"He`s a friend, he`s become a friend. Just as simple as that. I wouldn`t go to anybody else," said Shepard.

Although filing returns online has become the new normal, clients like Shepard and others rely on their CPA.

"I have not joined that electronic world because I haven`t educated myself to that," said Morris Meagher of Honesdale.

"It is important and the computers will do a tremendous amount of work, but it`s absolutely the most magnificent pencil ever created," said McAllister.

Compared to some smaller tax services, H&R Block near Honesdale says it does about four times the number of returns, but they too struggle to meet that last-minute rush.

"This year there`s a lot of late information, corrected W-2`s, brokers are sending out corrected statements, partnerships are late. So there`s a lot of late people this year," said H&R Block employee Susan Rickard.

They'll be working extra hours to make up for more people filing late due to last-minute tax law changes.

Accountants say at this point filing an extension may be a good alternative.

"However it`s more important that you actually submit any monies due with the extension," said McAllister.

Avoiding nasty penalties from the IRS down the road.