Skip to main content

Tax Day is April 15, and many last-minute filers will use Postal Service

April 15 is Tax Day
April 15 is Tax Day
Wikimedia Commons

Tax Day is Thursday, April 15, the last day to file income taxes without obtaining an extension. It always gets here too soon for some people, who, by plan or procrastination, wait until the very last minute to file.

Depending on where you live, your post office may stay open until midnight to accept tax returns, and that is just what some people are counting on. But with the Postal Service in financial trouble, there are fewer post offices staying open past regular business hours this tax year, so plan accordingly. For example,  post offices in the St. Louis, MO., area  have historically extended their hours on Tax Day, but will not do so this year. As a result, many late filers could have a rude awakening if they run to their local post office after business hours, only to find the doors locked.

Even with electronic tax filing fast becoming the preferred method of submitting tax returns, the United States Postal Service still processes a large number of returns. They are gearing up again this year for an influx of tax returns leading up to and including the April 15 deadline. But handling the Tax Day volume is becoming easier every year due to increased use of automation by the USPS to sort mail, as well as the decrease in the number of returns sent to the IRS by mail.

Why do many people still mail in their returns instead of e-filing? For those who owe money to the IRS and want to hold onto it as long as possible, mailing their return in on the last day actually lets them keep their money a few more days. Drop the return in the mail on April 15, and it may take until the 17th or 18th of April for it to get into the hands of the IRS. Add a few more days for them to cash your check, and the money stays in your account a little longer than if you sent the payment electronically.

Some taxpayers file by mail simply because they aren't comfortable with electronic filing and giving out personal account information over the internet. They feel more secure sending their tax return by Certified Mail with Return Receipt Requested. This method requires the IRS to sign for the return and send a Return Card back to the sender as proof that the return was received. Having an actual piece of paper in hand that shows they sent the return is still very reassuring to many people.

If you are filing your tax return on April 15, the best advice is not to wait until the last minute to submit it. In many respects, if you are filing on April 15, you already are waiting until the last minute. Just don't wait until 11:59 PM!