Triangle Troubleshooter

You can help tax filing go smoothly

Staff WriterApril 16, 2011 

I've written before that Tax Day this year is Monday - the deadline was moved from April 15 because of the observance of Emancipation Day in Washington - and that the IRS did not mail hard-copy tax forms for the first time this year because so many people now file returns electronically.

But for those few who still snail-mail their taxes, the U.S. Postal Service is offering friendly tips.

For one, there will be no extended post office hours, with the exception of the main post office in Raleigh, at 1 Floretta Place, off Westgate Road, which will accept stamped returns until midnight.

And "automated postal centers are available 24 hours a day at various post offices; an April 18 postmark will be provided if the mail is deposited by the last pickup time. (For locations, visit www .usps .com .)

Collection boxes also are available (schedules on www .usps .com under "locate a post office," then select "more info").

But be careful: If you put your return in a collection box past the last pickup time, your taxes will be considered late.

The Postal Service urges taxpayers to remember these items, too:

Sign all forms.

Put enough postage on your envelope. Rule of thumb is up to five sheets of paper in a No. 10 envelope equals one ounce. One ounce is 44 cents; add 20 cents for each additional ounce. Tax returns bearing insufficient postage will be returned, and taxpayers will be penalized for filing late.

Postal regulations require stamped tax returns weighing 13 ounces or more to be mailed at a post office, not in a collection box.

Use pre-addressed envelopes if you can. If not, write clearly and legibly. Include a return address.

Use first-class postage because the IRS recognizes the first-class letter postmark as proof that a return was mailed on time.

For customers who send original receipts to tax agencies, registered mail is a good choice.

Make sure bulky envelopes are securely sealed.

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