MOUNT VERNON — Mickey Bechard was wrapping up a “man weekend” with a sandwich and a beer at the Olde Post Office Cafe Sunday, a little smug about a duty well done.

Sitting across from his brother, Bart, he announced he was able to enjoy his man weekend — poker on Friday, golf on Saturday and fishing on Sunday — because he’d long since filed his taxes.

This year, thanks to the confluence of two holidays, the deadline for Maine residents to file federal income taxes is Tuesday, April 19. Emancipation Day fell on April 15 this year. Because it’s a legal public holiday in Washington, D.C., it gets precedence over the tax filing deadline, and it pushed the deadline to Monday. Patriot’s Day, which is this Monday, is observed in Maine and Massachusetts. Offices of the Internal Revenue Service in those two states will be closed on Monday, which gives filers another day because hand-delivery is one of the acceptable modes of filing them.

The due date for Maine state income tax returns is April 19, 2016, according to the Maine Revenue Service.

As of April 8, the IRS had received 107,452,000 returns and had processed 104,527,000 of them. With little more than a week to go before this year’s extended deadline, it reports that both those numbers are 3 percent or more lower than they were for the same time period a year ago.

Whether Bechard, a salesman, thinks he might owe or get money back, he generally does them in February. “I like to get it out of the way,” he said, “so when I want to go fishing, I can.” Apparently, he’s not a man to procrastinate, because he took advantage of a warm spell in March to rake and thatch his lawn at home in Augusta, again, so he could go fishing whenever he wants. Also, his taxes don’t tend to be very complicated and he doesn’t have many business expenses to claim.


Bart Bechard’s taxes are also done, because his wife isn’t a procrastinator.

“She did them a month ago online,” he said. She has done them just as long as he can remember, and it’s clear he has little desire to change the order of things. “We’ll be getting some money back,” he said. The refund comes in handy when they’ve overspent at Christmas, or when they plan to take a trip, as they will do in the near future.

That leads to a bit of a lecture from Mickey to Bart, who is also a salesman, about letting the federal government use his money for free.

Across the street from the cafe, John K. Jones took advantage of Sunday’s fine weather to get some work done. He slid out from under his pickup, showing no external signs of tax-induced stress. As the owner of a small business, he said he’s been sending his taxes out to be done for a number of years, due in large part to the complicated nature of some of the tax schedules.

“I used to do my own taxes,” Jones said, “but it feels safer to have them done by someone else.”

He also doesn’t mind, overmuch, paying his taxes. “It’s a duty, I guess.” After a moment, he said, “I’m against all the spending on the war budget.” While he was not old enough to be drafted, he knows many who were.


Sally Clark stopped briefly at the Mt. Vernon Country Store , out with a friend after spending some time in the woods Sunday morning. The registered nurse from Farmington paid her taxes in March, chiefly because she changed accountants and that’s when they got done. For Clark, paying taxes is the right thing to do morally, but it leaves a bitter taste behind due to the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.

“Everyone has to have health insurance, right?” Clark said. She bought hers through the insurance marketplace, and she has qualified for a subsidy, which brings down the cost of her monthly premium payment. But she now finds herself unable to work, because if her income increases, she will be required to pay back her subsidy. To do that, she said she will have to withdraw money from her Individual Retirement Account to repay the government, as she has been doing. Clark has been taking time from work to care for her husband, who has died, and for her parents, who are ill.

“You have to spend money, don’t you? You have to pay for travel and to stay in hotels,” she said. When she has withdrawn IRA money to pay expenses, that’s treated as income and it jeopardizes the subsidy. Under the requirements of the program, applicants have to predict what they will make in the year to come when they sign up. But when you don’t know what’s going to happen, getting an accurate estimate is impossible. She is sufficiently gun-shy about drawing from her IRA again that she turned down a chance at a temporary job, just 13 weeks. It would have been perfect, Clark said. But her accountant is advising against it, because of the tax consequences and the long-term damage to her retirement savings.

Katrina Bouchard is an early filer. The Clinton woman, out for a day of fishing with her son, Brysen, and Mike Savage, also of Clinton, said because of her son, she qualifies for the Earned Income Tax Credit, a benefit for working people with low to moderate incomes, particularly those with children. She baited her son’s hook and turned him back to Minnehonk Lake, where Brysen and Savage were trying their luck.

Savage, she pointed out, did his taxes last Saturday, because, she suggested, he’s a procrastinator.

As he dropped his own line in the lake, he painted a slightly different picture. “I remodel Rite Aids,” he said, “and I work nights. So if anything’s going to get done, it’s got to get done on my day off.”


He has never owed money, he said, and he doesn’t think if he did that would change when he filed.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

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