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Seconds-to-spare filing can be so taxing

April 15, 2005

Andrew Edwards

It happens every spring, but it's not as fun as the start of baseball

season or falling in love.

Except for people who file extensions, today, April 15, is the

last day to mail state and federal income tax returns. And if its

true that the only sure things in life are death and taxes, the day

may be one of the most dreaded days on the calendar.

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No less an authority than the Beatles sang out against

confiscatory policies of "The Taxman," and Costa Mesa resident Elaine

Steinhardt is similarly no fan of writing a check to pay Uncle Sam's

bills.

"I don't mind doing this when you get money back, but when you

have to pay, it hurts," Steinhardt, 73, said.

Steinhardt mailed her income tax returns Thursday at the post

office in Mesa Verde. In the past, the day before the deadline would

have been too soon for her.

"I usually try and turn it in at the last minute, but at my age I

get nervous," she said.

Steinhardt's not the only person who waited to file taxes. Newport

Beach tax preparer Dave Tax said locals who made big money last year

working in and around the booming real estate business have been

hesitant to send their share of last year's income to the government.

On Thursday, Tax said he opened his office at 5:30 a.m. and

planned to close at 2 a.m. today.

"So many go at one time that it causes overload on tax guys," Tax

said.

Costa Mesa resident Chris Sweeney picked up postage stamps at the

post office on Fairview Road on Thursday in preparation to send his

returns off on deadline day.

"Usually I get it off by now, but we moved, and we put it on the

back burner," he said.

"I've got a CPA to do the dirty work, so I can just cut the checks

and drop it," Sweeney added.

But those who wait till the last minute can end up in the

perennial long lines at the post office -- something Mike Buckels,

owner of ToZai Jujitsu in Costa Mesa, wanted to avoid.

"I just didn't want to get hung up," he said after mailing his tax

returns Thursday.

People who need to mail tax returns today can call (800) ASK-USPS

to find out when local post offices will be open.

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