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Those who owe federal taxes hold onto money as long as possible
Brenda Kanaday of Dahlonega drops off her tax return Thursday at the Gainesville post office on Green Street. Many who owed the government waited until the last minute to send off returns. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

For the first time ever, Gainesville resident Deborah Owen paid her taxes at the last minute Thursday.

“I stayed up until five o’clock in the morning Monday morning — all night working on them,” Owen said. “I was
so stressed.”

Cars cascaded through Gainesville’s Green Street post office Thursday as hundreds of last-minute filers dropped off envelopes marked for the Internal Revenue Service and the Georgia Department of Revenue.

And many were comfortable with the last-minute madness.

Gainesville resident Robert Davenport would have done it later if he could.

“Take as long as you can,” Davenport said. “If they can put an extension on it, I love an extension. Let’s go to July 15.”

Both Davenport and Gainesville resident Deidre Leckie mailed their respective tax payments at the Green Street post office Thursday afternoon.

“If I have to pay, I don’t want to pay until the 15th (of April),” Leckie said. “Even if I file earlier, then I’m going to wait. Because that’s longer that it’s my money.”

William Parks always waits to the last minute to send his check.

“That’s just me,” Parks said.

And this year, three months after he was laid off from his job, the 40-year-old welder said paying the tax man was the hardest part about April 15.

“It ain’t never easy, but you do what you got to do,” said Parks, who walked out of the office about two minutes before 5 p.m.

But those who showed up after 5 p.m. were greeted by a locked door. Gainesville’s post offices chose not to stay open later on tax day, said Jay West, officer in charge at the Green Street office.

“Some offices elect to do that,” West said. “We didn’t opt to do that this year in Gainesville.”

West couldn’t point to one particular reason the Green Street office didn’t extend hours, but he said the Postal Service’s budget did contribute.

The decision was a source of frustration for Leckie.

Last year, Leckie had to drive to Duluth to get the April 15 postmark on her tax payment after discovering that Gainesville offices weren’t open late.

“It is (frustrating), especially if I am having to do something last-minute and the post office doesn’t accommodate the busiest mail day of the year,” she said. “It’s very frustrating.”

After an unsuccessful attempt at e-filing Thursday, Ernest Jackson, 42, had to take his return to the post office, a little less than two hours before it closed.

But he did not seem fazed by the last-minute change-up. It wasn’t the journey that mattered. It was the destination.

“It’s all done,” he said. “It’s all in the mail.”

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