Offices stay open later for those filing taxes

COSTA MESA — Darrell Rivera had a few hours left Tuesday to qualify for his tax rebate — and the Costa Mesa resident had a good reason to wait in line.

Rivera, who works for a car dealership, was among those standing at the post office on Fairview Road in Costa Mesa on Tuesday afternoon to file his tax returns before the deadline. He expected to receive an economic stimulus check of up to $600 from the government in May, and unlike many who planned to put the money in savings or pay off debt, Rivera had a spending goal in mind.

“I think I might use it on a trip,” he said. “I might visit my family back in Puerto Rico.”

Tuesday was the final day for residents to file tax returns on time, and it proved to be a crunch for a number of people.

While Rivera and others lined up to mail their forms, post office parking lots filled with cars and accountants prepared to stay open until midnight.

Barbara Hodskins, a clerk at the post office on Camelback Street in Newport Beach, said her office had diverted staff from the backroom to the front counter to accommodate the influx of customers.

“We’ve got people in the parking lot directing traffic,” she said. “We’ve got some lobby directors in the window section helping people fill out their forms, and then we’ve got people behind the window getting mail to the dock to get it on the truck. It’s moving quite well.”

John Onstott, an accountant at H&R; Block on Harbor Boulevard in Costa Mesa, said his office had about 30 appointments scheduled for Tuesday and was counting on walk-ins as well. He and his colleagues, he said, often advised customers not to wait until the last minute to file.

“It’s just that they have to wait, and it becomes quite a hassle when you’ve got three or four people and the phone’s ringing and everything else,” he said. “But we get them all done. We’ll stay till midnight if we have to.”


MICHAEL MILLER may be reached at (714) 966-4617 or at michael.miller@latimes.com.

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