The deadline for filing taxes is a little over a month away, and you know what that means, right? That you have loads of time!
(Did you hear that? That was the collective groan from accountants everywhere.)
It’s human nature to procrastinate, and when it comes to tax season, most of us bring our procrastination 'A' game.
An estimated 27 percent of taxpayers file their taxes in the last two weeks before the deadline, according to Intuit, the maker of TurboTax tax software.
“People procrastinate because they can,” said Bob Meighan, the VP of consumer advocacy at Intuit.
When it comes to filing taxes, procrastination seems to be getting worse—but it has nothing to do with the recession. The culprit is technology. (You know, that thing that's supposed to make everything faster? Well, when it comes to taxes, it makes us slower.)
“In some ways, technology has enabled more taxpayers to procrastinate because more and more people are realizing they can go online ... and file their taxes electronically up to midnight on the night of the deadline,” he said.
There are two big spikes in terms of when people file, according to Intuit: the first week of February (because that’s when the W2s come in) and the last two days before the deadline. During some of those super-busy periods, they’ll see 50 to 100 returns filed PER SECOND for many hours in a row, Meighan said.
Intuit crunched the numbers (I guess they had some time on their hands during this slow period between the second week of February and the last two days when the rest of us are procrastinating) and came up with a list of the top 10 cities for procrastinating taxes.
What do the top 10 cities have in common? If you guessed “They have more people who owe the government instead of being due a refund,” that would be a great guess—but incorrect. The correct answer, in fact, has to do with technology. Most of the cities are big cities than tend to have more tech-savvy residents.
In fact, just to prove that first theory wrong, in the states of the cities that made the list, a majority of residents get refunds—anywhere from 65 percent (California) to 73 percent (New York), according to a TurboTax customer survey.
Once again, Houston earned the distinction of being the most rootinest, tootinest, tax-procrastinatinest city in the land. More people file in the last two days here than anywhere else.
Here’s the full list of tax-procrastinating cities:
3. New York
5. San Antonio
6. San Francisco
8. San Diego
9. Los Angeles
Finally, some good news for procrastinators: You get three days of LEGAL procrastination this year. The tax deadline is usually April 15, but due to the fact that April 15 is a holiday in Washington, DC, you’ll get an extra weekend to put off your taxes, which are now due on Mon., April 18.
You can thank Abraham Lincoln for that one: The holiday is Emancipation Day, in honor of when the former president freed 3,100 slaves in Washington, DC, on April 16, 1862. (The 16th falls on a Saturday this year, so it’s observed on Friday the 15th.)
We'll use even the noblest of holidays as an excuse to procrastinate!
- The Highly Effective Habits of Millionaires
- 12 Wacky Taxes You May Be Paying
- Wacky Tax Deductions: From Chicken Wings to Cruise Ships
- Nine Things That Drive Your Property Taxes Higher
- 10 Things You Probably Don't Know About Money
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