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A taxing day

April 16, 2002

Deepa Bharath

COSTA MESA -- At the Fairview Road post office Monday, tax day was

probably busier for employees than those filing returns.

The U.S. Postal Service center was bustling Monday afternoon with

people mailing their tax returns. Several took numbers and waited in line

to buy stamps or envelopes.

But most of them seemed pretty relaxed. Some boasted about how they

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are pros at sending out their returns on tax day.

Eric Salvio said he usually waits until April 15.

"I don't like to pay before I have to pay," he said, as he sealed his

envelopes. "I'd never wait till [Monday night] to do it. That would be

too close."

Emilio Rodriguez said this was the first time he waited till April 15

to mail his returns.

"Most of the time, this really makes me nervous," he said. "This year,

I waited until the last minute. But it turned out OK."

Tax time isn't "particularly nerve-racking," Beverly Bennett said.

"Usually I haven't done my taxes until a week before," she said. "But

I've never been one of those people waiting in line at midnight."

Dory Marozas said he did his taxes two months ago but waited until

Monday to mail them.

"That's the way I usually do it," he said. "If I have to pay, I may as

well wait."

Whether the waiting is intended or unintended, the people who tend to

get really busy are those behind the counter, said Brian Arregeyn, a

salesman at the post office who has worked at the Fairview branch for

five years.

"It's been pretty bad today," he said. "It's been busy for the last

two days. A lot of people do wait till the last minute."

Even as he was talking, Arregeyn told a customer where he could find

the state tax forms and directed him to a section of the post office

where he could get help from a clerk to fill out those forms.

"This is nothing new for us, though," he said. "It's been like this

every year."

* Deepa Bharath covers public safety and courts. She may be reached at

(949) 574-4226 or by e-mail at o7 deepa.bharath@latimes.comf7 .

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