04/16/07 — There's still time to file taxes, but not until midnight

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There's still time to file taxes, but not until midnight

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on April 16, 2007 2:04 PM

If you haven't filed your income taxes yet, you've still got some time -- but not as much as you might think.

This year, since April 15 was on a Sunday and today is Emancipation Day, the Internal Revenue Service is giving people two extra days to file.

That's the good news.

Tax returns must be postmarked by midnight Tuesday, but most area post offices are not extending hours to accommodate late filers.

That's the bad news.

In Wayne County, taxpayers must be inside the door at one of the post offices in Wayne County by the time they close Tuesday at 5 p.m. to get returns postmarked on that date.

"In recent years (most post offices) have not stayed open later (on tax deadline day)," Goldsboro postmaster Vernon "Sonny" Johnson said.

In the seven years Johnson has been the postmaster in Goldsboro, he said his post office on William Street has not extended its hours on the tax deadline day. Johnson said postal workers will empty the outside boxes at 5:15 p.m. on Tuesday, but he said he hopes nobody pushes the limit that far.

"Our staffing is being reduced," he said. "It's the nature of the beast. We're caught in a paradox. We're trying to be more customer-friendly and at the same time, more fiscally responsible."

Johnson said for those who wait until the very last minute, the closest post offices that will be open later are in Cary and Westgate Station at the processing and distribution center station in Raleigh. They will be open until 8 p.m.

And at places like H&R Block, there's always the last-minute rush.

Evelyn Ezzell, H&R Block franchisee, said she is going to be busy over the next 48 hours.

She and the tax filers in her nine offices in Goldsboro, Mount Olive and Kinston have already booked back-to-back appointments for today and Tuesday, and they're expecting many more walk-ins who won't mind waiting.

"I've been doing this 41 years, and it's always the same," she said.

Technically, taxpayers can file electronically until midnight Tuesday. H&R Block and many other tax preparers will be open until 9 p.m. today and Tuesday to handle last-minute filers. They will be filing electronically to make sure the returns are submitted on time, and some taxpayers will be filing for extensions today and Tuesday.

But if money is owed, Ms. Ezzell said, the taxpayer must have the check in the mail and postmarked Tuesday.