Filing last-minute taxes the old-fashioned way? It’s getting a lot harder for you
PITTSFIELD -- Midnight Tuesday is the deadline to file federal income tax returns without an extension, but Berkshire residents who plan to wait until the last minute probably shouldn’t.
With 85 percent of tax filers filing electronically this year, finding a post office near the Berkshires that’s still open at the deadline could be an adventure.
According to U.S. Postal Service spokeswoman Maureen Marion, no Berkshire postal facilities will be open until midnight on Tuesday, and only a small number across the country will stay open that late.
Marion believes the closest postal facilities to the Berkshires that plan to stay open past regular closing hours -- between 5:30 and 6 p.m. -- are in Albany, N.Y., and Hartford, Conn., although neither will be open until midnight. The U.S. Postal Service’s website indicates no post offices will be open after 6 p.m. within 100 miles of Pittsfield.
"I think you need to sharpen your pencil tonight," Marion said.
Some postal offices do have after-hours collection boxes that postmark. But those are mainly found in only a few large cities.
According to the American Institute of CPAs, 28 percent of individual tax returns aren’t filed until the two weeks before Tax Day. For those who are "really in a jam," Marion said, more information is available at USPS.com.
It’s easy to see why most post offices don’t stay open late for last minute tax filers anymore. According to USA Today, just 30 million tax returns, or 23.5 percent of all of them, were filed electronically in 2001. This year, the IRS expects more than 125 million will be filed electronically. E-filing is also free.
Those who absolutely can’t file by midnight Tuesday can request an extension no later than then by filing IRS Form 4868. For those who fill out the form correctly by the deadline, the government will provide an extension until Oct. 15.
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