Last minute tax adviceSubmitted: 04/14/2014
Story By Lauren Stephenson

RHINELANDER - Almost 100 million people have already filed their income tax returns.

If you haven't, you have until 11:59 p.m. Tuesday.

If you feel like you're scrambling to get them done, you're not alone.

Local accountants have had many clients coming in at the last minute to sign their income tax returns.

February is actually the busiest month for accountants.

That's because it's right before corporate tax returns are due in March, and income tax returns are due shortly thereafter in April.

But the busiest day of the year was Monday.

"April 14th is the busiest. It's just a crazy day. You've got last minute people coming in trying to get their returns filed, trying to accumulate everyone who needs to file an extension, getting people in for signatures, to review returns. It's just kind of a chaotic day because we have more people in and out of that door on April 14th than probably any other day of the year," said Mandy Hein of Northland Accounting, LLC.

Northland Accounting in Rhinelander prepares as many as 1,100 individual income tax returns a year.

They also do about 200 corporate tax returns.

Accountants say the biggest way to avoid issues with your individual income tax returns is to double check them.

"The biggest mistake is generally they're done by hand and math errors are probably among the biggest, or omitted information: full name, social security number, address, signatures, making sure that everything that needs to be filled in is filled in and your figures are correct, double-checking numbers against your source documents, and your math," Hein said.

If you haven't been able to finish your tax returns, you can file for a 6-month extension until Tuesday night.

More than 11 million people filed for extensions in 2013.

The extension gives you until October 15th to file your 2013 tax returns.

But if you think you'll owe the government money, you need to pay by Tuesday night to avoid penalties.

"Even though you get an extension to file, your tax is still technically due on April 15th. So if you are anticipating a tax liability, you should make a payment along with your extension that you mail in," explained Hein.

To file your returns or an extension request, you can go to any tax preparer or go to IRS.gov.

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PARK FALLS - Many people in the Northwoods go to church on Sunday mornings, and for some of them it may be begrudgingly.

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Peace Lutheran Church in Park Falls wanted to change that. Since May, they've been undergoing some construction. On Sunday, the church had a dedication ceremony for a special new addition—an elevator.

Now people like 100-year-old Ruth Olson can worship with greater ease.

Before the elevator, Olson said she would get to church by literally pulling herself up the stairs using the railing.

Olson's story is like many. As the older population grows, church buildings don't evolve with them. The buildings are often old and sometimes lack accomodating features for the elderly or disabled, and takes money to update the buildings.

"We have churches where the people are getting older and it's very hard for people to get around," said Rev. Dwayne Lueck, the district president for the North Wisconsin District Lutheran Church- Missouri Synod.

Some parishoners couldn't do what Ruth used to do, and so they would have to worship at a service held across the street in the day care center, instead of in the beautiful church.

"Now all the services can be over here," said Rev. Dale Heinlein, the pastor of Peace Lutheran.

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"We been talking and planning this for...a long time," said Dick Ross, president of the congregation. "Pretty hard for some of the people, and I think you saw them, pretty hard for some of the people to worship here, so it was time."

"You can see it in their eyes more than anything when they know they have access and when they come up here and just enter the building and no steps, it's a great thing," said Buzz Peters, a parishoner who helped design the new elevator and space.

"We can finally have access for everybody to get into the worship facility, free access, that's what this is all about," Heinlein said. 

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