Deadline for filing taxes is today

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 15, 2005

Area residents may be lined up at the post office tonight, just to drop a letter in the mail.

Today is the big deadline to file income tax returns with Alabama and the Internal Revenue Service.

Luckily, the Selma Post Office is going to do everything it can to help get Selma’s taxes in on time.

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A clerk will be working until midnight to make sure all the forms mailed that day get to the feds on time.

“Everything up until midnight will be postmarked,” Post Office supervisor Timika Bynog said.

The postal office will open as usual at 8 a.m. and won’t stop working for another 16 hours.

While the window shuts down at 4:30 p.m., Bynog said the mail slots will be available to allow late filers to come in up until the last minute.

According to the IRS, the extra time will be needed.

Tax officials estimate Americans will spend 6.6 billion hours filing their taxes this year, with a basic return accounting for 1.6 billion hours of work.

“If anything, those numbers are probably understated,” said David Keating, president of the National Taxpayers Union, which reports annually on the increasing complexity and demands of tax returns.

The forms are not just a drain on people’s free time, but on the productivity of the country, Keating said.

“That’s a huge, dead weight burden, trying to discern the tax code, what it rewards most,” he said. “If we turn the nation into a paper-shuffling, law-figuring-out country, no one actually gets anything done.”

Post office workers will be making sure a lot gets done regardless of how long filing takes.

Post office officials ask that all late filers pay extra attention to helping get the paperwork in the mail on time.

To make the post office’s job easier, Bynog asked that filers make sure they put a return address on all envelopes, and to make sure addresses are printed legibly, with the correct zip code.

Also, Bynog wanted to make sure that proper postage was on every envelope.

“It’s best if they feel it’s a little heavy, put two stamps,” she said.

– The Associated Press contributed to this report.