Tax Day 2021: Post Offices Extend Opening Hours For Filing Tax Returns

Post Offices across the United States extended their opening hours on Monday to coincide with the deadline for filing tax returns, after the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) extended the final submission date to allow Americans more time to reconcile their finances amid the pandemic.

The IRS extended the deadline to help taxpayers deal with their finances amid the coronavirus pandemic.

State deadlines

Thirty-five states, and Washington, D.C., have adopted the IRS deadline of May 17. These are Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin. A failure to meet today's deadline in those states will result in penalties and interest.

However, some states have been able to extend the deadline. The deadline for people in Maryland to file their taxes isn't until July 15. The July deadline applies to individual, pass-through, fiduciary and corporate income tax returns. However, the tax returns in Maryland also include estimated tax payments for both the first and second quarters of 2021.

Other states were allowed to extend their deadlines to help residents recover from the aftermath of the winter storms that destroyed parts of the south in February. Those in Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana will have until June 15 to complete their IRS tax filing and make any payment required. If you are unsure on your deadline, check with the state's tax authority.

Tax returns can be filed online using various tax software, such as TurboTax, TaxAct and others. Some people prefer to send their returns to the IRS by post.

Most branches of the USPS offer extended opening hours close to the filing deadline. You can use the USPS branch locator on the website to see your local Post Office's opening hours on the May 17 deadline.

Tax returns must be postmarked by the submission deadline in order for the IRS to consider them as filed on time. "If your tax return is postmarked by the filing date deadline, the IRS considers it on time. Mail your return in a USPS blue collection box or at a Postal location that has a pickup time before the deadline. Some Post Office locations offer extended hours and late postmarking for tax filers. Call a Post Office near you to find out if it will be open late on tax day," USPS said.

You can check the IRS website for where to mail you tax return. USPS advises that people filing should write both the destination and return addresses clearly or print your mailing label and postage.

"Postal services are available in many places besides stand-alone Post Office buildings. For example, the Approved Postal Provider program gives customers access to basic Postal services in third-party retail locations," the USPS added.

The USPS says taxpayers can send returns by dropping them into a USPS blue collection box or at a postal location with a pickup time before the deadline.

Before dropping off the tax forms, also remember to weigh the package to apply the right amount of postage.

"Most tax returns are several pages long and weigh more than 1 [ounce]. Tax returns sent without enough postage will be returned," the USPS said.

The USPS offers various services to show that you mailed your tax returns, your tax returns were delivered, or both. They include:

  • Signature Confirmation (electronic option): This service does not provide proof of mailing or delivery to the IRS.
  • Certificate of Mailing: Provides proof of mailing but does not provide proof of delivery for the IRS.
  • Certified Mail: Provides proof of mailing only if the package is brought into the USPS and a printed/dated receipt is obtained.
  • Return Receipt: Can only be purchased for First-Class Mail and Priority Mail when combined with either Certified Mail, Collect on Delivery, insurance over $500, or Registered Mail.

"After you send your taxes, keep your receipt in a safe place. The Postal Service does not keep copies of receipts. If your return is delayed or lost, the postmark will not be available, but your Certificate of Mailing receipt will prove that you mailed your return on time," the USPS said.

Most tax refunds associated with e-filed returns are issued within 21 days, USPS said.

USPS boxes in NYC
A UPS truck drives past two USPS mail boxes in New York City. The deadline for filing a tax return falls on Monday, after the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) extended the deadline by two months to allow Americans more time to reconcile their finances amid the pandemic. John Lamparski/Getty