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What’s the rush?

Reyhan Harmanci Apr 13, 2012

Tess Vigeland: Did we mention you have, um, just a couple of days to get your taxes done? And really, I’m talking to you, San Francisco. TurboTax says you’re number one in tax procrastinators based on electronic filing from last year.

Commentator Reyhan Harmanci knows of what we speak.

Reyhan Harmanci: Way to go S.F.! My hometown beat out other slacker cities like Portland (#10), Austin (#6) and Seattle (#5).

New York? Sorry, guys, your 38 percent rate of procrastination has could not top San Francisco’s, where more than 40 percent of us are last-minute filers.

Why is the City by the Bay so bad at this? TurboTax offered five reasons why people put off doing their taxes: Laziness, thrill-seeking, perceived lack of urgency, availability of extensions and no expected refund.

All of these, sadly, feel very familiar to me. I am among the tax-challenged masses in San Francisco. I didn’t get around to e-mailing my accountant Dave to arrange my yearly appointment until early this month. Dave topped his reply with a sarcastic, “Hey, why don’t you wait for the last minute?” He asked me to slip my documents in the mail. “Of course!” I said blushing behind my screen.

That was nearly two weeks ago and the tax forms have yet to find their way inside an envelope.

But I’m not to blame. My city is to blame. The reasons TurboTax cites for procrastination seem tailor-made for San Francisco. Have you ever tried to get coffee here during a week day? The cafes are filled to the brim with people exhibiting a strange mix of laziness (compulsively checking Facebook) and thrill-seeking (compulsively creating start-ups). The parks, too, are oddly full during the work week. I remember when I first moved here, I spent hours wondering “what do people do here all day?” Ten years later, I am still not sure.

But taxes can only be avoided for so long. While I worked on this commentary, Dave sent me another e-mail: “Nothing in yet. Please advise.” I replied back, “When in Rome, do as the Romans.”

Vigeland: Reyhan Harmanci is a writer based in San Francisco.

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