Tax season, how does it work?

February 14, 2010 at 6:58 am (taxes)

During the months of January through April do you all of a sudden find lots of tax-assistance stores in the strip malls and small business areas where you live? I had my oil changed yesterday, in this really sketchy lower-income neighborhood area that’s near where I live. I took a walk around to see it while I waited the 40 minutes for the mechanic to finish.

There was the person in the liberty mutual costume on the street corner waving at people. H&R Block had an office, as did like 3 other tax businesses. I tried to remember if there are that many in the “off” tax season, you know the rest of the year after April 15? I can’t remember if these were from vacant businesses and only temporary office shells, or if they were around the rest of the year.

I wonder what these business do the rest of the year? Is it all seasonal, temp tax-prep work? I’m sure there are business folks that need tax help to file quarterly taxes, but I’m sure they don’t use the predatory tax assistance businesses, or if they do, that there would be enough work to employ people and pay for business storefront rent. I would hope they go to accredited CPAs.

And what about the IRS? I got my electronic filing approved today. On a Sunday! I don’t know if it is automated or if it is done by a live human. Either way, I’m sure there are IRS government employees working weekends. I’ve always been impressed how quickly they process my return and refund. I can’t imagine how many people they must employ, to have every adult tax payer go through their system in an orderly and timely fashion in a 2.5 month period (I’m estimating that taxes start Feb, after W-2s come out through April 15). What do *they* do the rest of the year? Audits? If they have other work to do, do they put it on hiatus until tax season is over? Do they employ hordes of temporary workers?

If anyone works in this field, I would love to know the logistics! It seems like the higher-education version of hiring temp workers for the Christmas shopping rush.

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