Late Tax Filers Beware: Post Office Hours Curtailed

Late Tax Filers Beware: Post Office Hours Curtailed

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Some post offices will not be open late on tax day

Taxpayers accustomed to completing their returns late on April 15 and heading to their local post office to mail their paperwork off to the IRS are being forewarned: a number of local post office branches traditionally opened late previous years won’t be this year. At least that is the case across Alabama where the United States Postal Service sent out a news release earlier this month instructing taxpayers of the change.

USPS mailboxesAccording to the April 7, 2010, issue of “The Huntsville Times,” the USPS has seen a sharp decrease in last minute postmarks for tax returns, noting the huge shift from paper returns to electronic returns in recent years. Late night collections and after-hours retail operations are being curtailed across Alabama with regular hours observed on that day. Other USPS branches across the country are likely to follow suit; check with the postal service to learn what hours you can expect where you live.

Credit another federal government agency with making electronic filing easier for taxpayers. The IRS partners with the Free File Alliance LLC to provide free tax preparation software and filing for millions of Americans. The free software angle is available to Americans with an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of $57,000 or less, but mostly anyone can e-file for free. That explains why your local USPS branch may be keeping regular hours this year.

What if you simply cannot finish your return on time this Thursday? The IRS can grant you an automatic 6-month extension if you fill out IRS Form 4868 – Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Individual Tax Return and paying your tax liability at that time as well. Yes, you can get an extension on the paperwork, but if you owe money the IRS wants to see your payment on April 15. You can send that in via the USPS or submit your form and make your payment electronically as long as you pay a third-party “convenience fee” on top of what you owe the IRS.

The IRS is working aggressively to make sure that everyone pays what they owe. With the federal government operating at historic debt levels, cash hungry Washington is putting pressure on the IRS to collect more revenue. Lest you think picking a fight with the IRS is worth it, Tom Herman, writing for “The Wall Street Journal” warns that surrendering as soon possible may be the best course of action for most taxpayers. Not something most of us want to hear, but the truth nonetheless.

Photo Credit: EraserGirl

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Categories: Tax Tips