Time’s up!

Published 11:59 pm Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Local postal officials have one piece of advice for taxpayers who have waited for today’s deadline to mail their returns — arrive at the post office early.

Andalusia Postmaster Jerry Barlow said that traffic is typically slow in the morning at the post office on April 15, but picks up considerably after lunch.

“I definitely suggest for people to come as early if they’re going to be mailing (today),” he said.

Most post offices in Covington County will be open during their normal operating hours today. Andalusia’s post office will be open from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., Opp’s will be open from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. and Florala’s will be open from 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m.

“We close at 4:30,” Barlow said. “Obviously, we’ll still serve whoever is already in line at that time, but we won’t let any new people in. If someone misses that deadline, probably the nearest facility that will be open after normal hours is in Enterprise — they have an automated postal center that will allow you to mail up until midnight.”

Barlow cautioned that taxpayers who try to mail their returns in the blue USPS mailboxes should be sure to mail before the collection time printed on each box — most boxes in Andalusia have a 2 p.m. collection time.

He also suggested that post offices in River Falls, Gantt and similar small towns should not be as busy.

“Make sure that you’ve got the correct postage,” he added. “If you have a return that weighs over an ounce, then you’ll need to get additional postage — the IRS will not accept it if there’s not enough postage. We have a scale in the P.O. box lobby that you can use to weigh before you get in line.

“We also have the supplies here for certified mail; people should have their forms ready when they go to the line to keep everything moving.”

Taxpayers who are worried they will miss today’s deadline also have the option of filing for a six-month extension. If filing for an extension, a taxpayer must also estimate his or her 2008 tax liability and include that as payment — any amount overpaid will eventually be refunded. Any amount underpaid may also be charged interest or other penalties.

To qualify for this extension, a taxpayer must file Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Income Tax Return and it must be postmarked no later than April 15.

For more information on filling taxes, visit www.irs.gov.