Deadline reporting

This is puzzling. Why did WAGA do a tax-deadline live shot Tuesday at 10pm in Decatur? Is “lazy” too strong a word?

The post office live shot is an irresistible staple of local TV news on April 15. It usually makes sense. Each year, TV captures the good-natured last-minute scramble to file before the midnight deadline. And Decatur is certainly conveniently located to WAGA.

But chances are, every single taxpayer showed in WAGA’s coverage had no April 15 deadline. That’s because the IRS granted extensions to residents of DeKalb, Fulton and six other Georgia counties declared federal disaster areas from the March tornado. Decatur is the seat of DeKalb Co.

Sure, it’s possible a stray taxpayer from Henry or Rockdale County made the long drive to the Decatur post office to file taxes. But the odds were slim to none.

Denise Dillon’s story was solidly standard-issue, as tax deadline stories go. It would have made much more sense (and been more fun, perhaps) to bust taxpayers for not realizing the traditional deadline didn’t apply to them:

Dillon: Why are you here?

Taxpayer: Tax deadline.

Dillon: You live in DeKalb?

Taxpayer: Yes

Dillon: The IRS says you have until mid-May to file ’cause of the tornado.

Taxpayer: d’oh!

(OK, so it’s not the greatest material, we admit…)

Dillon briefly mentioned the deadline extension. But the station should have sent its live truck to Gwinnett or Cobb County, whose taxpayers actually faced a filing deadline at midnight last night.

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About live apt fire

Doug Richards is a reporter at WXIA-TV. This is his personal blog. WXIA-TV has nothing whatsoever to do with this blog, under any circumstances, in any form. For anything written herein, Doug accepts sole credit and full blame. Follow him on Twitter: @richardsdoug. All rights reserved. Thanks for visiting.

2 thoughts on “Deadline reporting

  1. rustytanton

    I don’t know the specifics of what one had to do to qualify for the tax extension, but I don’t think it was as simple as “you from Fulton/DeKalb? Cool, you’re in.”

    I had several friends who thought this was the case and found out otherwise at the last second and proceeded into full-bore freakout mode yesterday.

    Reply
  2. liveapartmentfire Post author

    It seems it is that simple, according to Elise Glink’s personal finance site, which says

    “And you do not have to prove you were a victim, just that you live in one of the affected counties: Bartow, Burke, DeKalb, Floyd, Fulton, Jefferson and Polk.”

    http://www.thinkglink.com/blog.asp

    Her site also links to an IRS news release which appears to say the same thing:

    http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=108362,00.html

    The IRS document also indicates taxpayers in other counties are eligible for the extension if their tax preparer is based in one of the designated counties.

    Reply

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