Tax time is now a fluid deadline

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By Ralph Damiani

Was a bit troubled by the news out of the governor’s office, but you be the judge.

See, he has hired more than 100 tax preparers who will be mobilized throughout the state this Wednesday to help New Mexicans file their 2007 state income tax return so they can get the recently passed fuel tax rebate.

Gov. Richardson declared Oct. 8 New Mexico Tax Rebate Day as part of what he calls “an unprecedented outreach effort to ensure eligible New Mexicans receive their state tax rebate.”

This is all well and good – or is it? We thought there was a deadline to file your taxes? And we thought that deadline was April 15?

And we also thought that if you did not file by that date, there were penalties, fees and the like.

So what gives?

The state says that many New Mexicans are not required to file, including veterans living on disability, seniors living on social security, active duty military and National Guard, Native Americans living and working on tribal land and lower income families.

If that is so, why was the rebate passed for low-income folks knowing that they do not have to file the required form?

So now, we have to not only pay the rebate, we have to pay for the taxpreparers also?

But to get the rebate, you have to file. And this outreach effort is about contacting these individuals and assisting them with filing their state income tax returns.

But we do not see where there was an amendment to the law passed to waive the late fees. And regardless of your circumstances, Wednesday is not April 15.

It is hard to see how this is fair to all of us who filed our taxes on time.

So to reach these eligible residents, tax preparers will be positioned at diverse locations including certain senior centers, Motor Vehicle Division offices, Children Youth and Families Division offices, and other prominent sites in major cities, rural areas and tribal land. Tax preparation will be a free service at each location.

In Los Alamos, these folks will be at the Betty Elhart Senior Center, 1000 Oppenheimer, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and at the MVD Field Office, 997 Central, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Individuals wanting tax preparation assistance should bring their Social Security number, their dependents’ Social Security numbers, W-2s, 1099s if any, property tax bills for those over 65 to the site.

A list of tax preparation locations for New Mexico Tax Rebate Day and the rest of October is available at the TRD rebate website www.tax.state.nm.us/rebate.htm. Residents can also call (866) 285-2996 to find the nearest location.

Good luck.

A failure to understand

I have been trying to keep up with what is going on with the economy. Hope you had better luck.

We are told day after day that the sky is falling – but we are told by people we have no confidence in – Congress.

Of course, it is other Congressmen who tell us it is no big deal. So what to believe?

All we know is that it seems that the debate is split right down the middle and that millions of Americans across the country are questioning what is going on and what is being done.

The cost to the taxpayer is to be at least $700 billion, though it probably will be closer to $1 trillion.

And, we are also told, all this must be done without delay. Why? Where are the compelling arguments that if we don’t act immediately to save these companies this nation will collapse? So hold on for the coming tax hike that will have to happen to pay for all this.

But that’s OK, Sen. Joe Biden, says that we should consider the paying of taxes as our patriotic duty.

But is it our “patriotic duty” to come to the aid of a business that has been mismanaged to the point of ruin?

No one that I have seen has presented me with a clear-cut reasoning regard of what would be lost if we failed to act quickly.

And as many economists say this enormous bailout does not even address the problems that got us into this mess in the first place.

Bad judgment and corruption will still exist and persist in the corporate world. How will this fix that?

It won’t.

See, when leaders agreed to a bipartisan bill to spend $300 billion to rescue Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, nothing changed.

Unless some of these issues are really addressed through a return to strong regulation, the only thing that will change is the bill we taxpayers are going to be asked to pick up.

And that will really spell doom.