Last day to file taxes; post offices open late

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    By BART JARMAN

    Time is running out for students to file their 1996 income taxes. Whether you’re an out-of-state student attending school here or a native of Utah, student taxes can be a headache.

    According to the Utah State Tax Commission, a nonresident student generally must file two different returns — one to the state in which the student is attending school and another to his or her home state.

    The income tax filing deadline is at midnight, and both the Provo and Orem Post Offices will have extended hours today to accommodate late filings. The Provo office will sell stamps and offer curbside collections until midnight.

    “The whole area is cordoned off and postal workers stand out in the road picking up parcels from car windows,” said Darin J. Martin of Kinko’s copy center in Provo.

    Kinko’s sees almost 2,000 people come through on tax day and many are students.

    “Most people already have their forms filled out,” Martin said. “They just want to get copies for their own records.”

    Kinko’s offers all of the necessary tax forms, but workers are often far too busy to offer tax advice, Martin said. The copy center offers refreshments for their customers and maps to the East Bay Post Office.

    “At about 11:30, people start coming up and asking for extension forms,” Martin said.

    As always, the Postal Service recommends mailing tax returns early to avoid today’s crowds and possible fines for filing late.

    Parents of college students should also be aware that there is a tax deductible savings program. The new Higher Education Savings Incentive Program allows parents to save up to $1,200 a year on behalf of a child.

    “Donations may be made for the 1997 tax year, provided that a savings plan agreement is set up between the donor and the HESIP trust,” said Janice J. Perry, spokeswoman for the Utah State Tax Commission.

    The funds saved through HESIP can be used for qualified higher education expenses at any two-year or four-year public or regionally accredited college, including BYU.

    Students on campus can get additional help and answers to tax questions from a group of accounting students called “Voluntary Income Tax Assistance” in the Tanner Building.

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