Tax deadline is almost here, but not the stress

Tuesday, April 17 is tax filing deadline day. If you're not very stressed out about the deadline, you're not alone.

Tax preparers say tax day just doesn't seem to work up the same emotional trauma that it used to for most Americans.

First of all, tax filing day is two days later than normal this year. The deadline fell on April 17 because April 15 was on a Sunday and April 16 is Emancipation Day, a holiday in Washington D.C.

But the lower tension level is about more than that.

In past years, last-minute tax filers would line up at the post office at midnight on April 15, to make sure their tax returns were mailed on time, but that doesn't happen anymore. It's been several years since South Carolina post offices offered extended hours on tax filing day.

And with only one day to go before the deadline, there was no mad rush of customers at the Liberty Tax Service office in Carolina Forest. The ones who were there Monday didn't seem the least bit stressed.

"I trust them and I have all my paperwork," said Liberty customer Joelle Bruser, a student at Horry Georgetown Technical College.

Tax preparer Samantha Slapnik said more than two-thirds of Americans file their taxes before April first. With tax information submitted electronically now, it's a more streamlined process for all taxpayers.

"So there's less trips to the post office, there's less trips to the bank to get information," Slapnik said. "People are able to access their information and get that out electronically very much easier than it used to be."

But Slapnik said that doesn't mean it's smooth sailing for everybody.

"Late season customers, those that file after April first typically, one, have more complex returns so there's more information to gather, or two, they owe money, so they're not in a big hurry to come in here and write that check," she said.

For them, tax day is still tense.

Also, if you're among those who just can't make the deadline and plan to file for an extension, Slapnik said you should keep in mind that you can delay filing the return, but you still owe the money on deadline day.

"That's a big misconception. For those that owe, they think they're going to get another six months to pay off that debt," she said. "No, it's not. You'll get interest and penalties attached to the amount that was due on the filing deadline."

If you're among the last-minute filers, Slapnik said now is when you should make sure you have gathered all the right financial information. That means bank statements, investment information, T-1098 tuition forms, mortgage interest statements and so on.

If all that information is gathered into one folder, filing is a much easier process, she said. If it's all scattered out, you're among those who are stressed.

Are you a last-minute tax filer who's stressed out over the tax deadline?