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Easier Tax Filing? You Have to Experience It Firsthand

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Tax preparation centers like this one are in for a last minu
FAYETTEVILLE — D-Day for taxes is just around the bend. But soon, we may not dread tax time as much. Thursday, Vice President Al Gore recommended a long list of changes in the IRS-- 200 of them!

He says the most important change needs to come in service. Customer service should be ranked on quality, not quantity. The proposal also calls for expanding electronic filing, slashing penalties and even issuing emergency same-day refunds.

Local residents WRAL spoke with say they look forward to any changes that make filing easier, but they won't believe it until they experience it for themselves.

It's the calm before the storm. In just two weeks, hundreds of people will file into tax preparation offices, waiting for the last minute to file their taxes. Many of those people haven't heard of Gore's proposals, but they're very receptive to anything that will make the process easier.

"I do think it's a good idea," says Gwendolyn Brown. "We need all the help we can get in taxes because taxes can be very stressful. So if there's any positive changes, yes, I'll take them."

James Miller has been seeing the same tax advisor for years and he says even if filing becomes easier, he'll still seek help. When you're into various things like real estate and have to file various things and what not, then I feel like you need to go to someone who knows what they're talking about. Just like going to a lawyer, you know it's best to go to someone who knows exactly what they're talking about that can represent you a whole lot better.

Some changes have already been made, but taxpayers will have to wait until next year to take advantage of them.

"Especially with children, next year they'll have a tax credit of $400 per child," says tax advisor Elsie Holden. "A lot of people thought they were going to have it this year, but it doesn't go into effect until next year."

Even if filing your taxes becomes easier, don't expect tax advising companies to go out of business anytime soon. Tune into WRAL's 5:00 p.m. news Thursday, March 19th, for free tax help from a panel of experts. You will be able to call in your questions or post questions on WRAL OnLine.

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John McDonnell, Reporter
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