Fears Over Volatile Economy Slow Tax Season For Some

Share |
(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Alan Shattuck has been doing people’s taxes for nearly half-a-century. 

“I hate to say it – I’m starting my 48th season preparing income tax in California.” 

The Roseville-based certified public accountant says in all his years, he can’t recall when so many bad things have happened at the same time. 

“I don’t think anything like this. Everything seems to be collapsing at once.” 

…including foreclosures, unemployment and a down economy. And Shattuck says this year many of his clients are delaying doing their taxes. He says they seem to be holding out hope for a fix. 

“Some magic tax credit or some bailout or something and things just really haven’t happened.” 

Several of his clients have just lost their job. And for those newly unemployed… 

“People don’t realize that unemployment insurance - the benefits that are paid are taxable to the IRS. And no one really thinks to have any money with any federal income tax withheld.”  

Of his clients that owe money to the IRS and are short on cash, many have been asking Shattuck about installment payments. 

“But most of the clients, I’m still finding that they’re getting refunds. It’s just the refunds are a lot less. They were hoping to get a $4,000 or $5,000 refund and they’re getting $1,000 or less.” 

But there is a bright spot. Shattuck says if you didn’t file a tax return in 2005 because your income was too low, the I-R-S may owe you money. That’s because you may have had income withheld from your paycheck. 

“A lot of the money is sitting there and people just aren’t aware of the fact that if they filed a tax return they would get money back.” 

With about three weeks to go before April 15th, Shattuck expects business to pick up in the next few days…even in a recession.

“Tax preparers and funeral directors are the only two whose jobs are guaranteed because there’s always going to be death and taxes.”