BULLHEAD CITY — Given the uncertainty about COVID-19, this world now has three certainties: Death, taxes and deadline extensions.
U.S. taxpayers don’t need to file their 2019 documents nor pay taxes until July 15. However, the Internal Revenue Service hasn’t delayed the distribution of refund checks.
“There is no reason for concern,” said Gary Shapiro, owner of The Southwest Financial Center in Bullhead City. “Those people who normally get tax refunds should file, if they are in need of the money now.”
Although a handful of tax filers are delaying visits to his office because of worries about the coronavirus, Shapiro said, most clients already have filed or have stopped by to drop off paperwork.
“We are now open for tax drop-offs only,” he said of his business at 1854 Highway 95. “Our returning tax clients have no issues with this, as we want everyone to be safe — and most have done this for many years, anyway.”
Without question, TSFC offices are sprayed and wiped down multiple times each day, according to Shapiro.
Brent Marshall, a certified public accountant in Bullhead City, asserted that he’s open for business and “working with the public in whichever way they feel comfortable.”
“We try to respect everyone’s space, at least six feet apart,” he said, noting that his enormous desk assures safe distancing.
Marshall explained that any “confused and scared” customers are being advised to conduct business through email or to drop off their tax documents. Although his company has grown from year to year, Marshall added, “We’re now taking a lot more phone calls and dealing with questions, which is cutting into our business, so the filing extension has been an assist to us.”
While many decisions impacting clients at TSFC are made on a day-to-day basis, Shapiro said he expects to limit all traffic as of Monday, April 6.
“We are metering all of our customer traffic, including tax folder pick-ups. As of this Monday, we (are limiting) all walk-ins for insurance customers, as well as have two members of our staff rotate and work from home as much as possible,” he said, noting that conducting business by phone will be paramount.
Elsewhere, the local AARP low-income taxpayers assistance program, which had operated out of the Suddenlink Community Center, was shut down a couple of weeks ago — a reaction to the coronavirus.
“It’s likely a very prudent decision for AARP, given their older clientele and actions taken by the city that restrict public access to buildings,” said Shapiro.
As for literally minding his own business? The Southwest Financial Center founder said that, as April unfolds, “We will have to see the extent of the need to take further measures.”
Ultimately, Shapiro added, customers are handling the COVID-19 circumstances with care.
“All of our clients are taking the steps in stride, knowing that the health of everyone concerned is paramount.”