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1 million Georgia returns expected to be filed from April 1 through today

Today’s the big day to file a tax return or an extension, something few people appreciate more than 28-year tax preparation veteran Audrey Griffin.

Griffin, of Centerville’s Griffin Tax Service, said late filers aren’t alone.

“I filed an extension ...” she said. “The shoemaker’s kids don’t have shoes.”

The Georgia Department of Revenue anticipates 1 million returns will have been filed by today since April 1, said spokesman Reg Lansberry. Among his tidbits of advice for late filers: Make sure to put the right tax return in the right envelope, because Georgia tax officials want the Georgia return, not the federal 1040.

The Internal Revenue Service says taxpayers should double-check critical numbers, including Social Security numbers along with bank routing and account numbers.

Some people filing today actually will be seeking extensions. The IRS, for example, automatically gives six-month extensions to taxpayers but requires that all estimated taxes be paid by today.

For those expecting a refund, there should be no problem. But if the math shows you’re going to owe more tax money, you need to pay that today, or as much as you can, the IRS said. The agency expects about 10 million extensions to be filed this year, on par with last year’s tax season.

Not everyone filing an extension on their taxes is simply putting off the inevitable, said Charlotte McMullan, a partner in McMullan & McMullan CPA who has worked more than three decades in the business. She said she never files her own taxes on time — in part because she’s handling logistics for some phenomenally complicated tax returns that can require hundreds of pages of paper to print.

“We do some returns in here that weigh a pound and a half, two pounds, which people don’t believe,” she said.

McMullan and Griffin both said they’ll do their best to accommodate new clients who darken their doorstep today.

Griffin, an enrolled agent — a kind of IRS-licensed tax preparer — since 1988, said she likely will file extensions for any new clients as she tries to accommodate her longtime customers.

McMullan said she’s received some unusual requests on April 15 in the past.

“I had a gentleman, years ago, called me on April 15 and said, ‘Charlotte, I’m in a phone booth down on Second Street and I need an extension.’ ”

She thought it was a prank call. The man said she’d been helping his family members for years.

“We took care of him,” she said.

People filing by mail will have to hustle to get the items postmarked in time. No Middle Georgia post offices will be open beyond their usual hours today, U.S. Postal Service spokesman Michael Miles said.

Miles said mail won’t be postmarked by the tax deadline if it’s dropped off after hours.

McMullan says she’s only rarely surprised by people who promise to take care of their taxes before the deadline.

“People don’t change. They tell you every year, ‘Next year, I’m not going to be like this.’ Uh-huh. I’m like, ‘Y’all come back, you hear?’ ” she quipped.

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