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Taxing time

Across nation, USPS helps last-minute filers

Walter Cesario, a mail handler at the Chicago Processing and Distribution Center
Walter Cesario, a mail handler at the Chicago Processing and Distribution Center, retrieves tax returns April 17. The chart shows First-Class Mail single-piece cancellations each Tax Day from 2008-2018.

The Postal Service helped last-minute tax filers mail their returns this week, including some customers who received an extra day after the IRS extended the deadline due to a technical glitch.

USPS canceled an estimated 50.7 million pieces of First-Class Mail April 17, down almost 50 percent from Tax Day 2008, when 100.6 million pieces were canceled. USPS doesn’t break down First-Class Mail by type, so the exact number of returns isn’t available.

“Even though the volume is less, the customers still need our help. Their needs don’t change. I like to do whatever I can to make mailing easier for the customers,” said Melinda Mitchell, a mail handler who helped collect tax returns from customers at the Detroit Processing and Distribution Center.

The IRS expected roughly 5 million people to file their returns April 17, which was Tax Day this year because April 15, the usual day, fell on a Sunday and April 16 was Emancipation Day, a legal holiday in Washington, DC, the federal government seat.

After its online payment system experienced a Tax Day outage, the IRS extended the deadline for customers to mail or file their returns until April 18.

Online filers who decided to mail their returns instead found postal employees were eager to accommodate them — even if Mother Nature wasn’t.

In Chicago, Letter Carrier Eranita Lake braved temperatures in the 40s to help customers at a temporary drive-through station at the downtown Cardiss Collins Post Office.

“It’s cold, but we’re providing convenience for our customers and they appreciate that,” Lake said.

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