April 15 a festival for deadlines

April 15 is fast approaching — beware! Signs of spring surround us — birds singing in the trees, a flash of yellow in the woods as the skunk cabbage pops up, evening daylight at long last. But our hearts are heavy — we can’t fully appreciate these wonders of spring. We cringe in anxious anticipation of April 15, that infamous day we all dread — the day we have to take off our studded tires. Oh, yeah, it’s Tax Day too. What a coincidence.

Maybe I’m the only one who struggles with multi-tasking, but I’m thinking they could have chosen a different day for taking off the tires. We’re kinda busy right now. Sure, I could have done my taxes a couple months ago, in some alternate reality where I deal with things efficiently and on time. But I’m a card-carrying member of Procrastinators Anonymous, or I will be when I get around to joining, and I don’t understand the concept of “early.” I know I’m not the only one, either. When I lived in Anchorage, I discovered a post office at the airport that stayed open all night. There was always a line at midnight on April 15, and yes, I was in it, biting my nails, hoping to get that all-important postmark before the clock struck 12.

Seriously, tax time is no fun if you send in your forms early. (Did I just use “tax” and “fun” in the same sentence?) You miss out on the drama, the camaraderie of people stuck in the same predicament. Sure, you get to lord it over the rest of us in the smug knowledge that your work is done. You can enjoy the fruits of your labors, as you spend your tax return the rest of us haven’t even calculated yet. But you must pay the cost. You forfeit that wild sense of accomplishment when you pull off the impossible at the last possible moment.

True, some people choose when to file their taxes based on whether or not they’re getting a refund. If the government owes you money, why not get it as quickly as possible? But if you owe the government, there’s no point in paying even one day sooner than you have to. Those are the only options — you either get a refund, or you have to pay. Unless, of course, you’re a whiz at those spreadsheets and you’ve got it figured out down to the penny. If you can do that, I’m guessing that you’re not under the gun to finish your return on time. But if you do leave your calculations to the last minute, be prepared to sweat. It’s like the lady or the tiger. Door No. 1, you get lots of money in the mail. Door No. 2, you write a big fat check to Uncle Sam, and pinch your pennies for the rest of the month. Which is it this year?

As Tax Day approaches, a word to the wise. If you do wait until the last possible moment, take care to know how many moments you will need to do the deed. The IRS estimates an average of 18 hours to file your tax return. You can’t really start after dinner on April 15 and expect to be in that line at the post office at midnight. Of course, you could always file for an extension, but that’s cheating. According to the time-honored rules of procrastination, you must eventually finish the project, in a spectacular display of last-minute scrambling, by the appointed deadline. Extending the deadline changes the rules — it’s simply not an option.

Except for this year. Here’s a little known fact — Tax Day has migrated to April 18 this year. Turns out April 15 was already taken to celebrate Emancipation Day, when Washington, D.C. commemorates Lincoln freeing slaves in the District. With the federal government shut down, us procrastinators get a few days of grace. Thanks guys!

Anyway, it’s probably time to get started. Gather up your forms and receipts, put on some inspiring music, and just do it. When you’re done, you can enjoy spring with a clear conscience. But not really — you still have to get those studded tires off.


Mon, 02/27/2017 - 08:39

Communications scholarship open

Alaska Professional Communicators are offering two $1,000 scholarships for students planning a career in communications and majoring in any phase of public communications, including public relations, advertising, radio-television, video and print.

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Mon, 02/27/2017 - 08:39

Thank you from Big Brothers Big Sisters

Thanks to the City and Borough of Juneau tax revenue and the CBJ Activities Grant, five big and little matches in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program enjoyed an afternoon of free skating at the Treadwell Ice Arena!

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Mon, 02/27/2017 - 08:38

Thank you from the American Red Cross of Alaska

On Feb. 17, 2017 we celebrated our 100-year anniversary as the American Red Cross of Alaska. It was very important to us to kick-off the year in Juneau as the original Red Cross of Alaska Charter was in Juneau. We are so happy we did! We have so many people to thank for making the evening not only fun, but heart-warming as well. We first have to thank the volunteers that worked so hard. Thank you to Buddy Custard, board member extraordinaire, for all of your guidance, humor, and hard work. Thank you Teresa Maria Abella for asking Senator Egan to be our Honorary Chair, for plastering the town with posters, for your fundraising efforts, your excitement, your photography, and just in general for being such a blessing to the Red Cross team. Senator Egan and Jesse Keihl, what can we say? You were amazing and helpful and patient. I will miss our meetings and the laughter that always ensued. We would be very remiss if we did not thank Governor Walker for giving us your time and for sharing your Red Cross story. Your commitment and support are deeply appreciated and we were touched beyond measure by your decision to attend and speak at our celebration. Lt. Governor Mallott and Mrs. Mallott, thank you for attending and supporting our mission. You bring such a sense of calm and grace wherever you go, we are humbled that you shared that with us. Last, but most definitely not least, we must thank all of our volunteers. The American Red Cross is a volunteer-run organization with only 14 staff for the entire state of Alaska. We could not help the hundreds of Alaskans that we do without volunteers. Our volunteers are the ones that get up at 2 a.m. when we receive a call about a house fire. They leave their homes and families to help others if there is a large disaster either in Alaska or in some other part of the country. I have said it many times, and will continue to say it: Red Cross volunteers are the best in the world. They are selfless, kind, generous people who only want to help. For this celebration there are a few in particular we need to thank: Karen Petersen, Peter Chaille, June Johnson, Joyce Levine, Michelle Brown, Carolyn and Dan Garcia, Chip Wagoner, Rebecca Trude, Rick Janelle, Patricia and Kyle Lamson, Bob Bassett, and T Iputi! Thank you Juneau and Southeast Alaska for supporting the American Red Cross of Alaska’s first 100 years; we look forward to the next 100!

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Mon, 02/27/2017 - 08:38

Planetarium presents ‘Aurora’

The Marie Drake Planetarium will present “Aurora” at 6:30 p.m. Monday, followed by “The Sky Tonight” on the Spitz projector. The event is free and for all ages.

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