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Some post office hours extended for tax filers

By Johnny Jackson

jjackson@henryherald.com

Hampton Postmaster Jerry Sparks gets the rush each year on April 15 - a non-stop influx of last-minute tax return filers.

"We'll be pretty busy," Sparks said.

His is a smaller post office, compared to some other offices in metro Atlanta. While the Hampton Post Office, located at 998 U.S. Highway 19/41, will be open from 8:30 a.m., until 5 p.m., some others could get crowds as late as midnight tonight.

Six Atlanta-area post offices will extend their window service hours until midnight. The nearest to the Southern Crescent is the Atlanta Main Post Office, located at 3900 Crown Road. It will be open from 6 a.m., today, until midnight.

"The tax filing deadline is one of the single busiest days of the year at the post office," said Kate Willey, Atlanta district manager for the U.S. Postal Service. "By extending hours, we hope we can make this day a little less stressful for our customers."

Officials recommend last-minute filers visit the post office early to avoid the rush later in the day.

"My recommendation to everybody would be [to] get started early," Sparks said.

Filers may also speed the process along by using the post office's Automated Postal Centers to buy stamps.

"One thing that people can remember is, we have a lot of outlets that people can purchase stamps. Publix, Walmart, Kroger, and Sam's Club are local retailers that carry first-class stamps," Sparks said.

Filers should double check their returns to be sure the proper return address and correct postage are included.

"Most people, now, are wanting a confirmation that their taxes get to the IRS, and we recommend certified mail," he said.

Sparks warned that when dropping off tax returns, filers should pay attention to the last pick-up time posted on the post office drop boxes.

Most mail which has been deposited by midnight should be post-marked by the April 15 deadline, he said. Deposits after midnight, or after the last posted pick-up time, will be post-marked for the following day.

"As long as they have it dropped in the mail slots by midnight, their income taxes should be postmarked by the deadline," he said.

Those who are unable to complete and mail their 2008 tax return by today's deadline may request an extension.

"[However,] your request for extension must be mailed or e-filed no later than April 15," said IRS spokesman Mark Green. "The extension will give you an automatic six additional months [until Oct. 15] to file your 2008 tax return."

He said the extension is good for extending the amount of time taxpayers have to file tax returns, but is not an extension on time they have to pay taxes owed.

Taxpayers can request an extension by mailing in Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, which is available on the IRS web site.

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On the net:

Internal Revenue Service:

www.irs.gov