Midnight tax filers have just one option

Staff writerApril 14, 2010 

  • 89,970,000

    Number of returns the IRS has received

    85,210,000

    Number of returns processed

    71,628,000

    Number of returns filed online

    74,115,000

    Number of filers who received refunds

    $219.368 billion

    Total refunded

    $2,960

    Average refund

Only one Triangle post office location - 1 Floretta Place off Westgate Road in North Raleigh - will be collecting returns until midnight.

The rest will all close at their normally scheduled times, which for many locations is 5 or 6 p.m.

With the growing popularity of e-filed returns and the post office's financial struggles, it is not practical to keep all locations open until midnight, said post office spokeswoman Enola Rice.

That doesn't mean you're alone in your procrastination. About 20 percent of taxpayers file their returns in the first two weeks of April, said Mark Hanson, spokesman for the IRS in North Carolina.

If you're in that group, don't despair: There are a few post office locations within other retail businesses that will be open later than 5 p.m.

The post office in Cruizer's at 13250 New Falls of Neuse Road in Raleigh will be open until 6:30 p.m. The office inside Apex Ace Hardware at 600 E. Williams St. will be open until 7 p.m. The two post office locations inside Debby's Hallmark at 6116 Falls of Neuse Road and 8081 Brier Creek Parkway will remain open until 9 p.m. to accept returns. And the two inside La Plaza Latina at 3801 Wake Forest Road in Durham and Dolphin's Mart at N.C. 55 and Commons Hill Road in Cary will close at 10 p.m.

Filers are advised to get to the post office early on Thursday. If you plan to just drop your return in a mailbox, check the last pickup time. If you miss it, your return will not receive the April 15 postmark.

At the Floretta Place post office, employees will be outside collecting returns until midnight. Envelopes must have proper postage. There will be no retail postal services available after 5 p.m.

Rice reminded filers to be sure to include their return addresses and be aware that many returns, especially those where the filer owes a payment, have additional forms that could make the envelope heavier than one ounce. Anything weighing over one ounce needs more than one stamp.

"The IRS does not pay for postage due," she said. "So don't take a chance that there's not enough postage."

If you want to check the closing time of your local post office, visit www.usps.com (click in the red bar on "Locate a Post Office") or call 800-275-8777.

And remember, if you don't want to hassle with the post office, you still have the e-filing option - right until the last minute.

Filing fuel

If doing your return was particularly grueling, restaurants may provide some relief.

Tax day has become a big marketing opportunity for businesses, and this year it's more important than ever. Last month, industry tracking firm Technomic reported that the 500 largest U.S. restaurant chains registered a 0.8 decline in sales in 2009, a dip that equated to almost $2 billion in lost sales.

Many hope that by offering discounts and freebies, they can generate a little revenue of their own and some good will.

Here are some offerings on Thursday only, unless otherwise noted:

Free ice cream: Maggie Moo's stores on Weston Parkway in Cary and Brier Creek in Raleigh will be giving away samples of theirMaggieMia's ice cream pizza from 3 to 7 p.m.

Little deductions: Children 12 and under eat free at IHOP restaurants with each adult meal purchased. The offer is good all month long from 4 to 10 p.m. daily. Dine in only; beverages are not included.

Sweet deals: Cinnabon stores will be giving away bite-sized cupcakes from 6 to 8 p.m.

Discount meals: PF Chang's customers will get 15 percent off their food bill.

IRS Special: McCormick & Schmick's restaurants will be offering $10.40 dinner entree specials at the bar, and bar patrons will receive a certificate for a $10.40 special on their next visit while supplies last. And on Friday (the day after tax day), professional tax preparers can present their business card to receive one of those $10.40 certificates and a complimentary dessert when they purchase an entree.

Doggie bag: Triangle-area Subway customers will get a free footlong sandwich when they buy one at regular price.

Java jolt: Bring your reusable coffee mug to Starbucks and get a free brewed coffee.

Breakfast biscuit: Participating Triangle-area McDonald's stores will be giving away free made-from-scratch biscuits from 6 to 10 a.m. Not all locations are doing the give-away, but the majority are. Check with your local store.

No taxation: Whole Foods stores in the Carolinas will give shoppers a discount equal to the amount of sales tax.

sue.stock@newsobserver.com or 919-829-4649

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