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Time running out for taxes

By Ed Brock

Marie Rice had her tax return finished in February.

"As soon as I get my information I'm on it," said Rice who lives in Jonesboro.

But on Friday Roland Garner still hadn't calculated his tribute to Uncle Sam.

"I'm a last-minute person," Garner said. "I'll do them this weekend," she said.

April 15, that most famous deadline in the United States, is fast approaching. However, business at the Daniel Ahart Tax Service on Tara Boulevard near Jonesboro has been more level than usual this year, said Senior Tax Associate Ron Tubbs.

"I think there were more people coming in earlier this year," Tubbs said.

More people seem to be getting refunds as well, Tubbs said.

"They're coming in early and taking all the possible deductions," Tubbs said. "When you're doing a fast return you're not doing a very accurate return."

As for those deductions, late filers should bear in mind that some of them have gone up this year.

For those filing as single it has risen from $4,750 for 2003 to $4,850 for 2004. Married filing jointly has risen from $9,500 to $9,700 and head of household is up from $7,000 to $7,150.

The income limit for eligibility for an earned income credit has also gone up to $30,318 for a couple with one child and $34,498 for a couple with two or more children. Last year the limit was $29,666 with one child and $33,692 with two or more children.

And Tubbs said that people who have made a large purchase in 2004, such as buying a car, might be able to claim their sales tax on that purchase.

As usual some area post offices will be open late on Friday, said U.S. Postal Service spokesman Michael Miles. The post office in Riverdale will be open from 8:30 a.m. to midnight and the Fayetteville post office will be open from 9 a.m. to midnight.

The central post office at 3900 Crown Road in the Hapeville area is open 24 hours.

Miles said the lines may be a little shorter this year.

"We're probably expecting it to be a little smaller than usual," Miles said. "The IRS is expecting an increase in their electronic filing."

Also as usual some of the basic tax forms will be available at the post office.

"Of course as we get into the evening those tend to run out, too," Miles said.