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H&R Block offering extended office hours as well

There’s great news for procrastinating taxpayers filing their 2016 tax returns.

You have a grace period this year.

“The deadline for filing taxes this year has been extended to April 18, which is a Tuesday,” H&R Block Tax Associate Shelby L. Harris said. “It also happened last year, and it only occurs when April 15 falls on a weekend. Next year will be the same too.”

The extra days are because April 15 falls on a Saturday this year.

As is the case each year, H&R Block has extended its office hours to accommodate last-minute tax filers.

“During the last three days, we are open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.,” Harris said of her office in Pahrump at 250 S. Highway 160, Suite 3. “We are normally open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Next week we go from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., starting on Monday, April 17.”

Harris also had advice for those who miss the deadline completely.

“We always get those, and we always get the people that come in the next day after their taxes were due,” she said. “For those people, what happens depends on a few factors. If they owe the IRS, then there could be penalties and interest associated with that. If they are getting a refund, there is no penalty or anything.”

BEWARE OF SCAMMERS

Harris noted those who plan to file their taxes this year should beware of becoming a victim of scam artists.

She said each year at this time, scammers come out looking to take advantage of unsuspecting tax filers.

“There’s scams every year where people get a lot of phone calls saying that they owe an ‘X’ amount of money,” Harris cautioned. “They will tell you that they can reduce a quarter of what they owe immediately. They also threaten to call the cops if the targeted victim refuses and they claim that they know where you are and the cops will come and arrest them.”

Harris lamented that each year some people, usually the elderly, do get taken in by the scammers.

“We get a lot of people who call us and want to know if it’s real,” she said. “People will give them their personal information and agree to pay the scam artist. It is usually elderly people and those who are not used to filing taxes. Bottom line, they just don’t know.”

Harris also noted that the Internal Revenue Service makes contact with taxpayers via the U.S. Postal Service, rather than a phone call.

“If they ever try to get ahold of you, they are going to send you a letter,” she said. “Usually it will be several mailed letters. They are even hesitant if you want to set up a phone conversation with the IRS. Contacts are always in writing. Because that way, they have proof and you have proof.”

ELECTRONIC REVIEWS

Additionally, Harris cautioned tax filers about using electronic filing to submit their returns.

“It depends on what system you are using,” she said. “If you are going online, you want to make sure that it is through a legitimate source. If you go through one of those back-alley ones that you’re not familiar with, you could be giving your information out to people that are not going to file your returns, but they will file one for you and keep the money. Assisted refunds are basically where we do the taxes for you.”

Harris also noted several changes over the years regarding people doing their taxes, rather than having a legitimate tax company prepare the returns.

She said originally, most people were doing the job themselves.

“It then switched over to many people doing it online,” she said. “Now we are seeing that our market is growing even more because people are getting forms that they are not quite used to, especially with the Affordable Care Act, where people really don’t know how to handle that. Forms can change yearly.”

A CLOSER LOOK

Among many of the services offered by H&R Block is what’s known as a “Second Look Review.’”

“That is when you have already filed your tax returns,” she said. “We can go back past three years and look at any returns that were filed. We can look at our own and we can look at other competitors as well as the ones you did yourself. We will basically make sure that everything was done correctly, and you got all the money that you were entitled to. We do second look for free. If you are required to file an amendment, then we charge for the amendment typically.”

Once returns are filed, individuals can expect to receive their tax refunds in less than a month.

“It is usually between eight to 21 days if you’re going to have it direct-deposited,” she said. “If you are mailing it in or getting a printed check, it could take longer due to the mail time.”

Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at sharris@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @pvtimes

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