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Gainesville post office won't stay open today for late income tax filers

POSTED: April 25, 2008 5:01 a.m.
DEMETRIUS FREEMAN/The Times

Nada Anthony, a senior tax adviser, left, works on clients' tax returns Monday at H&R Block. Mary Ann Roberts, also a senior tax adviser, middle, helps client Cindy Fuller prepare her tax return.

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It once was the time for pots of black coffee, lots of sharpened pencils and a trusty adding machine.

Now, many filers are opting for the computer, and that change is being noted by the postal service.

For the first time in many years, the Gainesville post office will not be open beyond regular hours today for last-minute mailing of tax returns.

Spokesman Michael Miles said the postal service was scaling back the number of locations that will remain open as more and more filers are using the Internet to file electronically.

"Any mail needing to be postmarked (today) will need to be mailed by the time listed on the box or posted within the building," Miles said.

The nearest post office remaining open until midnight is located at 1605 Boggs Road, Duluth, 30 miles from the Gainesville post office.

The Duluth location can be accessed via Exit 107 off Interstate 85, following the directions toward Ga. 316.

The Athens main post office at 575 Olympic Drive will also remain open until midnight.

If you aren’t brave enough to prepare it yourself, many tax preparation firms will be open extended hours.

"We’ll be taking walk-ins and drop-offs, and we’ll be open until 10 p.m.," said Teri Echols of H&R Block on Pearl Nix Parkway.

"It’s been plenty busy today," Echols said Monday.

For the third year in a row, the majority of taxpayers will file electronically.

For the 2006 tax year, more than 22.6 million returns have been e-filed by taxpayers doing their own returns, up from 20.3 million for 2005. More than 57.4 million returns were e-filed by tax professionals, up from nearly 52.9 million a year before, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

The IRS also offers a system called Free File to prepare and e-file your taxes online if your adjusted gross income was $54,000 or less in 2007. If you need more time to file your return, some companies also offer free preparation and e-filing for extensions.

The Free File service is available at irs.gov. It can also be used by people who normally do not file but wish to do so in order to receive the economic stimulus payment.

People who need additional time to file need to complete IRS form 4868 and have it filed either electronically or postmarked by midnight.



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