With the deadline for filing tax returns fast approaching, the U.S. Postal Service reminds last-minute tax filers to pay special attention to collection box pick-up times and Post Office retail hours.
The tax deadline for 2011 is Tuesday, April 17.
"According to the IRS, 77 percent of 143 million individual 2010 tax returns were filed electronically," said Lexington Postmaster Michael Hernandez. “There is no longer a need for the Postal Service to extend hours on Tax Day.”
Two Lexington Post Offices offer later operating hours:
• Bluegrass Station, 3525 Lansdowne Drive, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
• Main Post Office, 1088 Nandino Boulevard, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Other local Post Offices close at 5 p.m. and many collection box pick-up times are earlier. Post Office, CPU, and collection box information is available at 1-800-ASK-USPS or online.
Here are some other tax tips:
• If mailing from a street-collection box, check the last pickup time to make sure your return will be collected that day. The latest collection time in Lexington is 8 PM at the Main Post Office, 1088 Nandino Blvd.
• Use pre-addressed labels where possible. Write clearly. Take special care to ensure that handwritten envelopes are legible. Include a return address.
• Use first-class postage — the Internal Revenue Service recognizes the first-class letter postmark as proof a return was mailed on time.
• Affix sufficient postage. One ounce is 45 cents, and 20 cents for each additional ounce — 2 ounces, 65 cents; 3 ounces, 85 cents, etc. Rule of thumb: Up to five sheets of 20-pound paper in a No. 10 envelope equals 1 ounce.
• Pay attention to thick or bulky items: For example, if a letter is over ¼ inch thick, it is considered a flat/large envelope and requires more postage; if an item is more than ¾ inch thick, it is considered a parcel and could require additional postage.
• Make certain bulky envelopes are securely sealed
• The IRS does not accept postage-due mail even if it has the April 17 postmark; tax returns bearing insufficient postage will be returned — meaning taxpayers will be penalized for filing late tax returns..
• Postal regulations require that stamped tax returns weighing 13 ounces or more be mailed at a post office. They cannot be mailed in a collection box.
• Automated Postal Centers, or self-service kiosks, are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at various Lexington post offices (locations at Postal Locator on usps.com). An April 17 date stamp/postmark will be provided if the mail is deposited by the last pickup time posted on the Automated Postal Center on April 17. Certified/return receipt service is available.