04/14/05 — Tax procrastinators might consider automation

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Tax procrastinators might consider automation

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on April 14, 2005 1:47 PM

People who have waited until the last minute to file their income tax returns won't get any extra help from the Postal Service in Goldsboro.

Local post offices will not have extended hours on Friday for people who need to mail state and federal tax returns before the April 15 deadline. Both the main office and the Berkeley Station branch on Cashwell Drive will close at 5 p.m. Friday.

But procrastinators can still get their returns in the mail on time by going by the main post office on William Street, where an automated postal center is located in the lobby. Late filers can conceivably wait as late as 11:59 p.m. Friday and still buy postage with an April 15 postmark.

"What comes out is a meter strip, just like you'd receive in line," said Danny Cobb, the supervisor of customer service for the Postal Service.

Customers must use a credit or debit card to use the postal center since it does not accept cash, Cobb pointed out.

And there's always the chance that others will be in line to use the machine, causing people to miss the deadline, he added.

Nationally, about a third of all returns are filed in the last week before the deadline, but fewer post offices are staying open late on April 15 because the number of electronic filers has been steadily increasing. Last year, more than 1.5 million North Carolinians submitted electronic returns via tax-preparation software or a tax service.

"I don't know why people wait until the very end to mail their returns," Cobb said. "Of course, I only mailed mine yesterday."