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Downtown post office open until midnight Tuesday

By ALLISON MILES
April 16, 2012 at 6:04 p.m.
Updated April 16, 2012 at 11:17 p.m.

Filing cabinets filled with tax paperwork is not what most people get excited about, but many people are reminded of their importance as tax day looms.

HEAD TO THE POST OFFICE

Need to mail off tax returns, but can't get to a post office before the deadline-day close? Victoria's Main Street post office can help.

All mail that comes in before midnight at the downtown center, 312 S. Main St., will receive a Tuesday postmark, said Marcelo Pena, the post office's customer service supervisor.

People can deposit their mail in a collection box outside the post office once the business closes, he said.Pena reminded people to make sure they've included the necessary forms in their envelopes, and included the proper postage.

For more information, call the post office at 361-575-2365.

Why the extra time?

Filing deadline is usually April 15.But this year, the 15th landed on Sunday.The following day, April 16, is Emancipation Day in Washington, D.C., in which residents celebrate the anniversary of the signing of the Compensated Emancipation Act by President Abraham Lincoln on April 16, 1862.So because it is a legal holiday in the District of Columbia, the entire nation gets an extra day to file tax returns.

A dozen or so people filled the waiting room at Express Tax Monday, perusing magazines, eyeing their phones and watching TV as they waited to complete their 2011 taxes.

Tuesday is the last day to file, and Crossroads tax preparers said that looming deadline had them on their toes.

Business at Express Tax is typically heaviest when tax season first begins, owner Hector Escalante said. Still, the final days are busy, too.

He plays things by ear toward deadline day, adjusting his hours by customer traffic.

"If they keep coming, I stay," he said, noting that, after 17 years, he's learned to take the season in stride.

Jackson Hewitt Tax Service kept busy throughout the entire tax season, but saw a steady stream of clients file in Monday, said Maria Terry Reyes, the company's area manager. Many last-minute filers had questions about long forms or itemizing, she said.

She noted the Tuesday deadline doesn't apply to everyone - just those who owe money or plan to file extensions.

"People who will get a refund have three years to file," she said. "I always make sure people know that."

Victoria tax preparer Belinda Santos agreed the days surrounding that deadline are busy.

"I'll be hearing phones in my sleep," she said with a laugh, between calls from clients. "It's been non-stop all morning."

While some people call to set up appointments, she said many also ask about filing extensions. An extension gives someone until Oct. 15 to file but, if they owe money, she said payment is still due Tuesday.

Santos attributed tax procrastination to the fact that the beginning of the year is busy for many people. They simply aren't focused on taxes, she said, and so they put them off.

Such was the case for Jennifer Camacho, a Port Lavaca stay-at-home mom whose 4-year-old son and niece accompanied her to Express Tax.

"We always wait until the last minute," she said. "Every year. Even though we get a refund."

Waiting has its advantages, Camacho said, noting that those who file right away also spend their money right away. Her family gets that little income boost later on.

Victoria resident Eusevio Saenz filed his 2011 taxes about a month ago, but said he usually tries to file even earlier than that.

Still, on Monday afternoon he found himself inside Express Tax, waiting to drop off one last form.

Saenz said he prefers the early approach because it feels good to know the task is complete.

"It takes a load off of you," he said. "It's worth it."

As for Santos, she said she, too, looks forward to that long-awaited relief.

"Is it April 18 yet?" she asked.

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