Editorial: Last-minute filers might have to drive

2012-04-16T21:00:00Z 2012-04-16T22:24:58Z Editorial: Last-minute filers might have to drive Corvallis Gazette Times
April 16, 2012 9:00 pm

Today’s deadline for filing your income taxes falls a couple of days later than usual, and here’s why:

As you know, of course, the usual deadline for tax filing is April 15.

This year, April 15 was a Sunday, so the deadline typically would roll forward to the next weekday. But April 16 turns out to be a District of Columbia holiday (it commemorates the day when its slaves were freed) and federal lawrequires D.C. holidays to be treated the same as federal holidays.

To avoid confusion, Oregon — like many other states — set its tax filing deadline to coincide with the federal deadline, so the state deadline is April 17 as well.

But having two extra days, although it can be useful to last-minute filers, doesn’t make the chore of paying taxes any less burdensome. And you last-minute procrastinators better plan on doing some traveling if you want to crowd the deadline: Only three locations in all of Oregon plan to stay open until midnight for last-second filers, and none is in Corvallis. (One is in Salem at the post office at 1050 25th St. S.E.; another is in Springfield at the Eugene Gateway Station, 3148 Gateway St. The third is in Portland.)

If you’re tempted to hop into the car and do that driving, you should explore the IRS’ e-file option first.

We wouldn’t be truly American if we didn’t complain about the amount of tax we pay, especially on this day. But there’s some evidence that, at least in Corvallis and Benton County, we don’t mind imposing additional local taxes on ourselves — as long as we have a good idea where the money is going.

So we’ve voted in additional taxes to pay for smaller class sizes and other services in the Corvallis School District. We’re helping to pay for 24-hour coverage by sheriff’s deputies in the rural areas of the county and certain Health Department programs. In the city, we’re helping to offset costs of running the Osborn Aquatic Center and the public library, among other programs.

Those local option taxes have helped those governments avoid making the kind of harsh cuts that have been necessary elsewhere across Oregon.

But those local taxes only go so far, and they don’t obscure this fundamental truth:

The costs of government have started to outstrip the available revenue.

The budgets you’ll see emerging over the next few weeks from governmental entities, especially locally, are among the first steps to try to build sustainable budgets for the long run.

The results, eventually, should be local governments that are lean, almost certainly to a fault — but, apparently, this is the type of government we want. Ponder that as you race to beat the clock on today’s tax day.

Copyright 2015 Corvallis Gazette Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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