Devan Aube waited at Liberty Tax Service off Milton Avenue to file his taxes Saturday afternoon.
Aube, 22, said he “spaced” this year on his taxes, and he waited until the last minute to file.
“I will file them sooner (next year) and not wait until the last minute,” he said. “It’s a pain.”
The deadline to file taxes is Monday, April 15. Liberty Tax Service owner Jim Bartlett said Saturday that his business has seen about 15% more customers across the past two weeks than it normally does at this time of year.
Tax forms are different this year because federal tax law changed. People might try to do their own taxes and could be having trouble with the new forms, he said.
Bartlett said not everyone is required to file, such as people who are getting a refund. But those who owe money to the government must file, he said.
For those who owe money, penalties accrue if taxes are not filed on time, Bartlett said. Those include being charged from 5% a month to 25% of what is owed.
Bartlett said a good rule of the thumb is to file on time.
“You don’t necessarily know until it’s in and done (if you owe), so you’re better off filing,” he said.
Among the tax changes this year are increases in standard deductions. Before the tax changes, Bartlett said, 30% of filers were itemizing deductions. Now, less than 10% itemize, he said.
Tax rates also are lower, he said.
In Janesville, Bartlett said, the average resident doesn’t have enough real estate tax to itemize and is adapting to the tax changes. Each filer varies, he said, but preparation fees generally are less because people don’t have as much to itemize.
Bartlett said the average refund has been about $2,500 in previous years. He said that has remained consistent this year, even with the federal tax changes.
Employees who have out-of-pocket expenses have been hurt somewhat, Bartlett said. Contract workers previously were allowed to deduct daily living expenses such as food. But that all went away.
Tax filers increasingly are using online services such as TurboTax.com to file their taxes, Bartlett said. Paid tax professionals across the country are seeing customer decreases of 1% to 2% while self-filing has increased by 3%, he said.
“More are more people are using the software, and you’re looking, I think, at the younger generation’s propensity for computers,” he said.
On Friday, Matthew D. Krueger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, issued a press release reminding filers to accurately report their taxes.
“Federal prison awaits those who cheat on their taxes,” Krueger said in the release.