Long, Late Lines at Post Office on Tax Day a Dying Tradition

Older taxpayers remember a tax day tradition of long lines at the post office. Get in line by midnight, and you’d get an April 15th postmark – your taxes would squeak by under the deadline.

But this year the postal service offered no extended hours. The latest Northeast Ohio tax stragglers could get the postmark was 8 pm, at the main downtown Cleveland branch.

"Our tax day volume since 2007 – the first-class, single-piece mail volume – has been reduced by 33 percent," said postal service spokesman David Van Allen. He says that decline is still less than in overall mail over the last decade, which has halved, as more and more business gets done online.

Eighty-seven percent of Ohioans are thought to have e-filed their taxes this year, one percent more than the national rate, according to regional IRS spokeswoman Jennifer Jenkins.

For those who found their post offices closed and ended up a day late, "If someone actually is due a refund – and this is not to encourage people to file late – but the penalties are typically based on the amount of tax due," she explained.

The Regional Income Tax Authority, or RITA, which collects taxes for many Ohio municipalities, says online filings are up, but a little over half still come in by mail. A spokeswoman said people who get hit with a late-filing fee can call RITA and ask to have it dropped.

Joanna Richards, 90.3.

 

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