Tax help center deals with extra clients and last minute rush du - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Tax help center deals with extra clients and last minute rush during final days of tax season

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Madison (WKOW)-- The tax season is wrapping up for the year, but many are still rushing to file their returns. This sense of urgency is plainly evident the minute you walk into the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Center in Madison. Sitting just behind the front desk is a sign saying "Welcome to Procrastinationville." The light-hearted joke symbolizes the annual last minute rush volunteers have come to expect.

"At this point, we're about 8% ahead of last year. We've probably helped 3,500 people at this site this season," coordinator Paul Swanson says. "It's a service that is certainly needed. We're seeing more people here at the center."

The center operates Saturdays, Mondays and Wednesdays during the season. On their final day, April 14th, volunteers say people were already waiting in line nearly two hours before the center even opened. They filed more than 130 returns during their six hour shift. It's not the most they have seen this season, but volunteers say the last minute filers always seem to bring the most complicated problems.

"Somehow we get through it," Swanson says. "It's fast-paced and hectic at times, but eventually it's all over."

Volunteers say the 8% increase in service this year is partially because of budget cuts to the IRS. Officials say the biggest cuts were to their customer service and enforcement divisions. Officials with the IRS say call wait times for their national help line sometimes stretch longer than 20 minutes depending on when you call. The audit rate this year will also be the lowest it has been since the 1980's. Officials say the previous low point was less than 1% in 2005. This year it will be even lower.

Volunteers in Madison say the difficulties they dealt with this year will be nothing compared to the upcoming 2015 tax season. They say the the Affordable Care Act and the federal health care exchange this year will create a lot of changes to the tax filing process.

"It's not only going to add complexity, but it's probably also going to add to the amount of time that we need to spend with each taxpayer, which may cut down on the number of returns that we can do," Swanson says.

Taxpayers who aren't able to get their taxes filed before midnight on Tuesday are urged to file a "4868 form" on the IRS website. Which can be found by clicking here.

Filing the form will give you a six month extension to file, but if you owe money you need to pay a portion of it immediately to avoid interest payments.

For more information visit the Internal Revenue Service's website at http://www.irs.gov/
   



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