PITTSFIELD

Two events occur every April. Baseball season begins, and income tax returns must be filed.

We look forward to the former, but often dread the latter.

This year the deadline for filing your federal income tax return is midnight on Tuesday, April 15. Hopefully, you’ve already filed by now, but I’m sure there are plenty of people in the Berkshires who will wait until the last minute. If your one of them you have plenty of company.

According to the American Institute of CPAs, 28 percent of individual tax returns aren’t filed until the final two weeks before Tax Day.

Last-ditch tax filers are a lot like last-minute Christmas shoppers, basketball teams that like to run down the shot clock, and those small animals that decide to cross the road by running in front of your car as you’re bearing down on them. Some kind of vicarious thrill must accompany this behavior.

Me? I’d rather not get caught up in the wheels of bureaucracy, or take my chances every spring attempting to make a half-court shot at the buzzer. My advice is to file early.

Here’s a few tax tips for late filers, courtesy of the American Institute of CPAs that were posted on Finance.com.

You can avoid the last minute rush, i.e, the midnight run to the post office, by filing online.


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It doesn’t cost anything to e-file, and doing so means you might actually get some sleep on Tax Day. For those who insist on waiting to the bitter end, midnight Tax Day is the last possible moment to have your tax return postmarked without it being considered late. The U.S. Postal Service keeps some locations open until the last minute. To find them, use the online location tool provided by the USPS.

If you absolutely can’t file by April 15, you can request an extension by filing IRS Form 4868, known as "Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return."

You can either mail or e-file this form, but whatever method you choose, it has to be done by April 15. As long as you fill out the form correctly, and submit it by the deadline, the government will grant you an extension until Oct. 15.

If you can’t pay your taxes yet, but expect to owe money to the Internal Revenue Service, estimate how much you owe, and either file or request an extension by April 15. Don’t try and dance around this one. The failure-to-file penalty is generally more than the failure-to-pay penalty, according to the IRS. If you pay as much as you can, then explore other payment options, the IRS will work with you.

Remember how your teachers stressed doing all your homework assignments correctly? The same goes for income tax returns. Double check and make sure your form is complete. Even simple mistakes, like the wrong address or Social Security Number, can cause the IRS to consider your return incomplete. In these cases, the IRS has the authority to assign additional charges or penalties, although it’s usually done only when the mistake leaves you owing money.

Say you’re still in a funk over all the upsets that ruined your NCAA Tournament bracket, and completely forget about the filing deadline. Don’t ignore the problem, because it won’t go away.

File your return as soon as possible. It will minimize any penalty and interest charges (there is no penalty for filing a late return if you’re due for a refund).

You can also request a payment agreement with the IRS, which is Form 9465. Your can find the form online by using the IRS Online Payment Agreement Application tool.

Happy filing.

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The restaurant business can be difficult so it’s quite an accomplishment when an eatery celebrates its 50th anniversary. Mario’s Restaurant in New Lebanon, N.Y., achieved that milestone in February.

Two of the restaurant’s four current owners, Michael Soldato and Diane DiBuono, are the children of the eatery’s founder, Mario Soldato, who built the business with his brothers. Michael Soldato is also the owner/chef of Zucchini’s Restaurant in Pittsfield.

According to DiBuono, her father owned a "dime and dance" in the early 1960s known as the Old Homestead, and also made ends meet by bartending, working as a janitor and cutting grass. But he always wanted to run his own restaurant.

Mario Soldato bought the land the restaurant stands on from the locals who owned it, then obtained the financing to build it through a method that was standard for its time, but probably wouldn’t work today.

"He went to the bank and got a loan with his word to pay it back," DiBuono said. "The banker gave it to him."

She attributes the restaurant’s longevity to preseverance, the work ethic installed by her father, and the food.

"I think the bottom line is the food," she said. "It’s always been good."

"We source locally," DiBuono said, adding that
her brother, who is the chef, "doesn’t cut corners."

A recipe for success.

Tony Dobrowolski is the business editor of The Berkshire Eagle. He can be reached at tdobrowolski@berkshireeagle.com