Today was a rather quiet Monday. I was on desk for two hours this morning and I sensed a themed within the first five people I talked to. Taxes. Tomorrow is the deadline to submit your taxes without asking for an extension. I’m reminded of one episode of the Simpsons where Homer is driving frantically to get to the post office, furiously making calculations before he crumbled the forms into a ball and heaved it into the building right as the doors closed. At the time I laughed and thought no one really waited that late to file their taxes.
However I’ve come to reconsider that, we’ve had a large group of people come in looking for tax forms. It’s almost comical. And it’s very predictable, they either come up the stairs or look bewilderingly about for the forms or they get off the elevators and look around before noticing the forms right in front of them. After picking up a few forms they stand there for 10 minutes staring before going through all the forms again, getting a frustrated look upon their face and then turning towards the desk with a look of confusion. And I know what question they are going to ask before they open their mouths…”Where’s the state forms?”
My state no longer sends printed forms to libraries. They would prefer we direct them to the online forms. Even if you call the department directly it’s very difficult to get them to mail them to your home. Budget cuts is the reason given. Since January I’ve had this conversation at least five times a day with someone.
We’ve also been phoned several times an hour asking if we are still doing tax help. We have two volunteer groups that come in and help with tax help. It’s a great service but takes up a lot of energy and people don’t seem to connect that it’s a volunteer group. Not the library that is actually providing the help. I don’t know how many times I’ve had to say, “I can’t offer up tax help as I’m not a tax preparer.” I’ve been told that it will get worst tomorrow as people who have waited to the very last-minute come looking for help and forms.