Last chance to file tax returns
Western Nevada County residents who insist on doing it the old fashioned way have until 5:30 p.m. Friday to mail their 2004 federal and state income tax returns, if they want to stay close to home.
The Grass Valley and Nevada City post offices will be accepting tax returns until 5:30 p.m. After that, last-minute filers will have to get their returns to the main Chico post office by 8 p.m. or the West Sacramento outlet by midnight to avoid late filling fees.
But for the first time in history, the Internal Revenue Service expects more than half of the returns to be filed electronically this year.
The IRS reported that 63 percent of the returns received through April 8 – a total of 55.8 million – were filed electronically. The IRS expected that percentage to drop in the last week of filing but still exceed 50 percent by the time all returns are in.
Failure to file on time triggers late fees that can add up quickly – 5 percent of the amount owed per month, up to 25 percent.
The fees can be avoided by filing for an extension. But Form 4868 has to be postmarked by Friday, and has to include payment for at least 90 percent of the total amount owed.
Ralph Petty, spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service in Sacramento, won’t venture a guess as to how many returns will be filed Friday. “But we expect there will be a long line of cars right up to midnight,” he said.
Tips for last-minute filers
The U.S. Postal Service offers the following advice to late-minute filers of federal and state income tax returns:
• Mail as early as you can. If you have to mail Friday, mail as early in the day as possible.
• Don’t expect the post office to have tax forms you need.
• Make sure envelopes have sufficient postage.
• Address envelopes clearly and correctly, and always use a return address.
• If you deposit your returns in a collection box, make sure it’s before the last scheduled pick-up of the day.
• Last-minute filers who can’t get their returns to the Grass Valley or Nevada City post offices by 5:30 p.m. Friday have the following options:
– The Chico main post office, 550 Vallombrosa Ave., will accept returns until 8 p.m.
– The post office at 3775 Industrial Blvd., West Sacramento, will accept returns until midnight.
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