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The tax man cometh today

By Ed Brock

Annie Lois Parks of Riverdale filed her income taxes in February, but on Wednesday she was still at the Jonesboro post office getting tax forms one day before the deadline.

"These are for a young man I help with his taxes," Parks said, adding that the young man apparently is one of many who are last-minute tax filers. Very last minute, in the case of Parks' friend.

"He asked me to get forms for the last couple of years," Parks said. "The IRS has been sending him notices."

Today is it, the last day to get those federal 1040 forms and state 500 forms in the mail and on their way. At AAA Income Tax Service on N. Main Street in Jonesboro on Wednesday most of Jack Bruce's regular customers were done and the rush to file was already beginning to slow.

"Thank God it's the 14th and tomorrow's the last day, that's all I have to say," Bruce said. "We've got the stragglers who are coming in now."

Several post offices around the Atlanta metro area will be open late tonight to accommodate those who have been putting off the inevitable, U.S. Postal Service spokesman Michael Miles said.

"Last year we saw about 273,000 pieces of mail coming through (on April 15) more than what we usually get," Miles said. "We're prepared for similar a volume this year."

In Clayton County, the Riverdale Postal Store at 8060 Webb Road will be open from 8:30 a.m. to midnight, as will the Fayetteville Post Office at 250 E. Georgia Avenue. Also, the Main Post Office at 3900 Crown Road SW in Atlanta is open 24 hours a day.

A complete list of post offices around Atlanta that will be open late is available at www.usps.com/atlanta or by calling 1-800-ASK-USPS (875-2777).

Miles said the lines tend to get longer later in the evening, so he recommends that people come in earlier in the day. Midday is also a peak time so it should also be avoided.

There will also be postal employees at the curb of the main post office collecting tax forms so the mailer doesn't have to go inside.

"Anything we can do to make it easier," Miles said. "We know some people are going to wait until the last minute."

And people come in late for all kinds of reasons, Miles said. One year Miles was at a post office on tax deadline giving an interview to a television news crew. When the reporter was finished he turned to a man come to mail his return and asked him why he had waited until the last minute.

"He told them it was because he knew the television cameras would be there," Miles said.

Meanwhile, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia William S. Duffey's Office in Atlanta is warning taxpayers, especially those who leave their tax preparation to others, that they are aggressively pursuing perpetrators of tax fraud.

"We will seek out and prosecute those who use others and who cheat the government by abusing the tax system," said Duffey. "Those who violate our tax laws, especially those who steal the identities of others to commit their crimes, will be prosecuted vigorously."