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Bronx Laundromat Offers Tax Filing Services During Wash Cycles

By Alice Speri | January 23, 2014 1:05pm
 A financial services firm offers residents a chance to multitask by filing taxes while waiting for their laundry. 
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MOTT HAVEN – Customers at a local laundromat looking to multitask while their clothes are in the wash are being offered an unusual option: filing their taxes while waiting for that rinse cycle to finish.

Broadway Professional Services Inc., a financial services firm, partnered with 1 Stop Bronx Laundromat at 447 Willis Ave. to offer busy residents walk-in tax preparation while they wash and dry their clothes.

“You drop off your papers like you drop off your clothes,” said Ivan Vega, an office manager at the site. “And then you pick up your taxes like you pick up your laundry.”

The firm also offers a free wash — up to $10 value — and a $25 cash bonus to customers choosing on-the-spot electronic filing, as an additional incentive.

Vega, who has been helping people file their taxes for a decade, said he has set up stands in offices, gyms and community centers – but that the laundromat was a first.

“They sent me to some weird places, but nothing like this,” he said. “They are trying to reach out to people.”

The average tax report takes about 40 minutes, about the same as a laundry cycle, Vega said. But customers need to make sure to bring their photo IDs, tax forms and relevant paperwork in addition to quarters and detergent.

“We wanted to find a way to make tax preparation convenient and efficient, even fun,” said George Lora, managing director of BPSI. “No one really wants to do their taxes, but if you combine tax prep while you’re already waiting for your clothes and add in a cash bonus, it’s a whole other experience.”

On Wednesday afternoon, business was slow both at the laundromat and the tax office, but Vega said it will pick up as the snow melts and tax day approaches.

Some customers were a little perplexed to learn about the service, but quickly grew to like the idea.

“When I go to an office, I want it to look professional,” said Luz Nunez, in Spanish, laughing off the idea. “This is a laundromat, it’s not an office.”

Her son, Orlando Burges, disagreed with her.

“If you had brought your taxes today, you’d be done,” he told her. “This is New York City. You see all kinds of things.”

Others quickly noted the benefits of the program, which is especially convenient for those working late or multiple jobs.

“When I come out of work I have to do laundry, and now taxes… I think this will work. And it will bring them more business,” said Carmen Lebron, who works as a salesperson at a local store and was doing laundry with her two daughters. “This is funny, it’s different.”

The laundromat is open 24 hours, but tax services, also available in Spanish, will only be accessible from 8 a.m. to 7p.m. through April 25, to accommodate latecomers.

If the program is successful, organizers plan to expand it next year.

Combining errands, customers said, seemed like a winning strategy, however bizarre.

Alfredo Ruben, who said he will rely on his regular tax service this season, joked that he feels the same about doing taxes as he does about doing laundry.

“I have no choice,” he said as he unloaded a washing machine. “It’s required.”