Clock Is Ticking On Filing Tax Returns

It's Tax Day.

Those of you who've procrastinated are no doubt panicking Lou Piniella-style: moaning, muttering. Why? Oh why?

All is not lost. You still have until midnight to file your return.

More than 118 million federal forms will be filed this year, the Internal Revenue Service estimates. About 20 percent of those forms will be filed during the final week - many during the final day.

Last-minute filers were out in droves last night at Seattle's Central Library at 1000 Fourth Ave. They stood slack-jawed, rubbing their eyes. They complained about a tricky "IRA rollover thingie."

The library has books, booklets, schedules, forms, a CD-ROM with hard-to-find or out-of-state forms and volunteers who will help tax filers.

"We always wait until the last minute because we owe," said Patty Swaney of Bellevue, who came to the library with her unusually calm husband.

"Stressed?" said Chuck Swaney. "Oh, please."

The library opened yesterday at 9 a.m., and since that time, a librarian said, there had been a steady stream of people looking for forms.

"If you think I'm going to pay them one second before I have to . . ." said one woman, shaking her head and grabbing a form.

In walked a man in his 20s. "Uh," said. "I'm looking for a . . ."

"An extension," volunteer Ann Romine finished the sentence. The man nodded.

"That's a popular question tonight," Romine said.

The library will be open until midnight to help late filers, with tax forms, free photocopying and Postal Service pickup guaranteeing a midnight postmark. Tax preparers will be there from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Coffee and cookies, too.

Here are some other places to get tax help today and tonight:

-- The Jackson Federal Building, 915 Second Ave., Seattle, will be open until midnight. Volunteer preparers will be available until 6 p.m.

-- Post offices collecting until midnight include: Seattle Airport Mail Center, 16601 Air Cargo Road, Sea-Tac; Bitterlake Station, 929 N. 145th St.; Seattle; Terminal Station, 241 S. Lander St., Seattle; Seattle Main Post Office, 301 Union St.; Auburn Main Post Office, 11 Third St. N.W.; Bellevue Main Post Office, 1171 Bellevue Way N.E.; Bothell Post Office, 10500 Beardslee Blvd.; Everett Main Post Office, 3102 Hoyt Ave.; Kent Main Post Office, 10612 S.E. 240th St.; Kirkland Post Office, 721 Fourth Ave.; Lynnwood Post Office, 6817 208th St. S.W.; Renton Main Post Office, 17200 116th Ave. S.E.; Tukwila Post Office, 225 Andover Park W.

-- King County Library System libraries open until midnight: Shoreline, Bellevue, Bothell, Kent and Federal Way Regional, with tax-aide volunteers on hand from 6 to 9:30 p.m.

-- The IRS 24-hour tax-help line is 800-829-1040