- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Postponing federal income-tax deadlines apparently did not diminish the number of taxpayers pushing the envelope — literally.

Although the usual filing deadline of April 15, which fell on Saturday, was postponed to Monday, reports indicated that post offices were busy as usual receiving last-minute tax returns by midnight Monday.

The Internal Revenue Service even extended that deadline to yesterday for six states, including Maryland, and the District because those returns are processed in Massachusetts, where Patriot’s Day, a state holiday, was celebrated Monday. Other states with the Tuesday deadline were Vermont, New York, New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts.

Maryland and D.C. post offices were busy Monday and yesterday, and some post offices were open until midnight so tax returns bore the April 18 postmark, avoiding penalties for tardy filing.

The Aspen Hill post office at Connecticut and Georgia avenues north of Wheaton was one of the midnight stations.

“We had three or four more people come on at 7 p.m.,” postal manager Jack Hotovchin said yesterday. “They were assigned out along the curb. All people had to do was drive up and hand them their returns. They would be postmarked by midnight.”

The curb workers kept taxpayers from dropping their returns in mailboxes. Returns and letters in those boxes outside the post office would not be collected and postmarked until today, a day late and subject to penalty.

Taxpayers without postage stamps were able to enter the Aspen Hill post office until midnight to buy stamps and be guaranteed of an April 18 postmark.

Some taxpayers yesterday afternoon wanted to be assured of that certainty and waited in line for a clerk.

“Call me old-fashioned,” said David Jarrett, 35, of Wheaton, adding that he even decided against filing his tax return by e-mail.

“I procrastinated. I could have filed earlier,” he added.

Terry Greene is from Cambridge, Mass., but she was at the Aspen Hill post office filing for an extension — for her nephew. She had come to Maryland to spend Passover with relatives. She flew back to Boston at 5 p.m.

“I had already filed mine,” Ms. Greene said, but her nephew had been unable to meet the filing deadline, or make it to the post office yesterday.

The Rockville post office was open as usual until 6 p.m. yesterday, but, surprisingly, fewer taxpayers than expected brought in returns to be mailed, perhaps because they were unaware that the April 17 deadline had been postponed.

It was a different story Monday, when lines began forming at 8:30 a.m. and circulated until 6 p.m., keeping six clerks and two supervisors busy all working-day long.

“People were patient, thank God,” clerk Christine Park said.



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