Post offices likely won't be busy on Tax Day

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Last-minute tax filers likely won’t make a mad dash to the post office this Tax Day.

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Natasha Boles (lef) watches as her taxes are prepared electronically by Nilda Treska at the Jackson Hewett Tax Service office in Martinez on Monday afternoon.  MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
Natasha Boles (lef) watches as her taxes are prepared electronically by Nilda Treska at the Jackson Hewett Tax Service office in Martinez on Monday afternoon.

With the majority of Americans now opting to file personal income taxes electronically versus the traditional paper method, post offices across Augusta won’t extend their hours – like in years past – for taxpayers mailing in their returns on deadline day.

Instead, all local branches will operate within normal hours, said Stephen Seewoester, spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service.

“The IRS has told us that almost 90 percent are now filed electronically, so the volume is way down,” Seewoester said. “It’s not like it used to be, say, 10 years ago, for sure. It used to be kind of an event, and now it’s just pretty routine.”

By the end of March, the Internal Revenue Service had received 82 million returns through its e-file service and just 8.3 million paper receipts. Of the 148 million individual income tax returns the IRS expects to process this year, the agency projects that 23 million will come from paper returns, down seven percent from last year.

In Georgia, a record-breaking 3.1 million returns had been e-filed as of last Sunday. As a whole, about 3.7 million of the state’s 4.5 million taxpayers are expected to file electronically, said IRS spokesman Mark Green.

In South Carolina, the IRS anticipates 1.6 million of the 1.8 million returns will be done electronically, said Green, adding that the total number of returns in the Palmetto State is pegged at 2 million. Green said technology, such as smart phone apps, has made filing easy for young adults.

“It’s fast,” he said. “It’s safe. It’s accurate, but most importantly individuals know that they can get their refund back in as little as 21 days.”

At Jackson Hewitt Tax Service, less than five percent of Tracy Vance’s client base in Augusta, North Augusta and Aiken mail in their returns. A new electronic signature program put in place this season cuts down on tax prep company’s paper usage by two-thirds, which Vance considers an eco-friendly advantage.

“Personally, I feel like it is more secure digitized,” he said. “I know the safeguards that Jackson Hewitt has in place regarding their data. The only next stop is the IRS. Unless someone breaches that then those are the only two places that the person’s data is going to be. But if it’s on paper, it could be anywhere.”

On Tax Day, Green encourages taxpayers needing to file returns to avoid the post office and complete the process via an electronic device.

“I would say file electronically for the convenience and the assurance of knowing that we have received the tax return,” he said. “By doing it electronically, you’re not subject to as many errors as you would doing it by paper and by hand.”

TIPS FOR FILING AFTER APRIL 15

• Although it’s too late to request an extension, file taxes as soon as possible.

• Pay as much as possible with the return to reduce penalties and interest.

• Claim refunds within three years or risk losing it.

• Visit IRS.gov to check the status of refund or to set up an online payment installment plan.

• If unhappy with refund, adjust withholding amount now for next year.

• Fix errors on return by filing Form 1040X, available at IRS.gov or by calling 1-800-TAX-FORM.

• Beware of scams. The IRS will never contact taxpayers via e-mail, text or social media.

• Contact the IRS immediately at 1-800-829-1040 with any federal tax problem.

• Keep a copy of your return.

• Set up a record keeping system.

Source: IRS

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seenitB4
84100
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seenitB4 04/15/14 - 07:11 am
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Oh yes they are

Maybe not as much BUT this office in my area is busy, busy, busy..

dsterling9
709
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dsterling9 04/15/14 - 08:25 am
0
1
TAX DAY AND THE POST OFFICE

I have long disagreed with the post office extending hours and paying excessive overtime on tax day for those last minute filers. The law should be changed to include a deadline of 12 noon on the 15th. Procrastination is not a reason.

Darby
24763
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Darby 04/15/14 - 12:04 pm
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0
This article hearkens back

to unpleasant memories of my own annual ritual where I would sit down at my kitchen table with about a dozen finely sharpened number 2 pencils, all the blank 1040 type forms and IRS regulations I thought I might need (and a bunch of others, that I was almost certain I wouldn't need, just in case).

Then I'd spend a couple of days reviewing the regs, doing the math and then re-checking the math, (computing depreciation, mortgage interest, etc.) filling out the final form in pencil and then, when I was satisfied that the "gods" at IRS couldn't or wouldn't hurt me, tracing over the pencil in ink and making the trek to the post office.

If I said that I missed those "good old days" would you believe me for even a New York minute?

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