With 90 percent of Americans filing their taxes electronically, the days when post offices were beehives of tax night activity right up until midnight are a distant memory- but not, apparently, in Salinas California.
A California television station claims hundreds of Salinas residents “panicked” last night when they discovered their local post office wasn’t open until midnight. Reporters claimed that it was the first time in “recent memory” that the office wasn’t open late on tax night, and showed customers insisting that the office was always open until midnight on April 15.
As is the norm with the news media these days, however, the “reporters” didn’t bother to do any research to back up their claims- if they had, they’d have discovered that this was the second year in a row that the Salinas office closed at its normal time on tax night. According to a 2013 press release from the USPS, the Salinas PO closed at 5PM on tax night last year, although the office did accept returns at curbside until 8 PM. Two years ago the office was open late, but only until 10 PM, not midnight. This year, the USPS issued a press release announcing that post offices in the area would be open normal hours on tax night with the exception of San Jose and Oakland.
As for the “PANIC” people were supposedly experiencing, the TV station’s own web site had previously carried a story pointing out that the tax deadline is pretty much meaningless if, like most taxpayers, you’re expecting a refund. (Late filing penalties are based on the amount you owe the IRS- if you’re getting a refund, there’s no penalty).
Never let the facts get in the way of a snappy headline!
SALINAS, Calif. –Hundreds of people failed to file their tax returns on time in Salinas Tuesday, showing up at the post office and expecting it to be open late, only to find it closed at 5 p.m.
The post office on Post Drive is known for being open late on tax day. In past years postal workers have been out here in the parking lot collecting and post marking the returns until midnight. However for the first time in recent memory, hours were not extended, much to the surprise of all those who showed up.