Saturday, December 24, 2011

Tax night, and I beat midnight! (Apr. 15, 2009)

Current mood: relieved

Late evening on April 15, and where am I but in line at the Post Office, trying to get a 4/15 postmark on a certain envelope headed for the I.R.S.  I made it. Others were not so lucky.

In past years, they had clowns, free popcorn, and a paid employee of the USPS standing in the parking lot taking envelopes as people drove through. One of the radio stations even had a van there with a satellite uplink. Not this year. Not at all.

What we got instead was a machine in the lobby at which you could purchase a postmarked stamp dated 4/15/2009. Worse than that the minimum purchase was $1, far worse, it took four full minutes per person to purchase that stamp. I walked into the lobby at 10:50, figuring I'd get out of there in 10 minutes. It was fully 11:40 by the time I pushed all necessary buttons.

Someone oughta gripe loudly and longly about the lack of at least someone standing in the parking lot to take stamped envelopes. Are we really that hard up that the one big post office in the northern suburbs of a major city cannot still have that, this one night of the year?


End rant. Now as to why I was in "the parade" at all. I did seven people's taxes this year. I started back in February, and was close to done by April 1, but had a miserable time getting the various e-filing sites to play nicely with all the combinations of forms for each filer. For some, it took three sites to get things to "take" properly. Pennsylvania's e-filing system, while it's a little screwy, at least works predictably.

Of course, though, ONE federal filing could not be done electronically. And of course we didn't find that out until past 9 p.m. on 4/15, and of course I was still in Downtown Pittsburgh at that time. So it was past 10 when I got home, fully 10:30 before I had the paper form in the envelope with the W-2, ready to go, and 10 more minutes to chase to the post office.

1 comment:

bus15237 said...

If you think you might end up in the same predicament, do this: Go to a Post Office DURING THE DAY on 4/15, and go through the process of buying that postmark AT THE MACHINE, not at the counter, even if there is no line.

That night, if you need it, you simply paste it on the envelope and drop it in the mailbox. If you don't need it, you can either hand it to someone waiting in line, or just pitch it. $1 or so for insurance and peace of mind sounds pretty cheap to me.