STEUBENVILLE - A holiday officially celebrated only in the nation's capital will mean last-minute federal income tax returns won't have to be filed until Tuesday.
"Traditionally Tax Day falls on April 15 unless that day happens to be on a Saturday, Sunday or federal holiday. This year Washington, D.C., will celebrate Emancipation Day on April 16. Emancipation Day marks the anniversary of President Lincoln signing the Compensated Emancipation Act for the release of 3,100 slaves in the District of Columbia. Emancipation Day was declared an official public holiday in the district in 2005. And that means the federal government in Washington, D.C., will be closed Monday," Petrella explained.
Steubenville Postmaster Anita Petrella is working to get the word out that the North Third Street post office will operate on a regular business hour schedule Tuesday.
PREPARING FOR THE TAX DEADLINE – Michele Byers, left, a sales and service associate at the post office on North Third Street in Steubenville and Postmaster Anita Petrella help a customer mailing their tax returns. -- Dave Gossett
"We will have regular hours on April 17, the tax deadline day. On that day we will be open from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. I have posted signs in the lobby and hope we don't have last-minute customers trying to have their tax return enveloped postmarked on the 17. For the first time in my nearly 40-year career in the postal service we will not stay open late for tax filers," said Petrella.
Petrella said she has seen "a definite decrease in the number of taxes mailed to the Internal Revenue Service."
"There is more of a push to electronically file tax returns. Plus we no longer have the federal tax forms. The IRS is encouraging taxpayers to obtain the forms online or from a tax preparer. We just have state tax forms available at the post office," Petrella added.
Tad Kelley, communications officer for the Western Pennsylvania and Northern West Virginia postal service said post offices in Hancock, Brooke and Ohio counties will operate on regular business hours.
"No post offices in that area of West Virginia will have extended hours this year," said Kelley.
Weirton Postmaster Phil Zimmerman said it will also be business as usual in Weirton.
"We didn't have extended hours last year and we won't be open beyond our usual business hours this year. The post office in Weirton will be open for normal business hours. The lobby drop box at the Penco Road post office will close at 5:45 p.m.," said Zimmerman.
"We usually see a little more activity on the final day for filing taxes and we will probably see a few more customers in the afternoon," he noted.
According to Dave Van Allen of the U.S. Postal Service Cleveland office, only two post offices in northeast Ohio will offer extended hours on Tuesday.
"The Cleveland main post office will remain open until 10 p.m. on that day, while the Akron main post office will be open until 7 p.m. Customers who mail their returns on April 17 should check with their local post office or read the posted times on the collection box to make sure that their tax return will be collected and postmarked before the deadline. Also, any letters or packages weighing 13 ounces or more must be brought to a post office and handed to a postal clerk at the window," said Van Allen.
"The Internal Revenue Service will accept returns sent via express mail or delivery confirmation for those customers who would like verification that their return was delivered," added Van Allen.
"Customers may also want to consider using priority mail with delivery confirmation. When sending a last-minute tax return customers should also check the last pick-up time if mailing in a street collection box to make sure that your return will be collected later that day," said Van Allen.
"If possible, mail your returns using the address labels or pre-addressed envelopes sometimes provided by local, state and federal agencies. And always include your return address on the envelope. Also make sure your tax return has sufficient postage. If you are mailing a number of supplementary forms and schedules with your return, the envelope is likely to weigh more than 1 ounce. Oversized and extra thick envelopes may require additional postage. If in doubt, use lobby scales, an Automated Postal Center, or ask a postal clerk for assistance," advised Van Allen.