Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tax day: Not what it used to be.

Today is tax day. It used to be enough make most postal employees break into a cold sweat. Lobby lines would stretch to the door. Racks of tax forms and instructions stood ready to be picked over by last-minute filers. Anxious customers peppered window clerks with a barrage of questions and, in some cases, we even brought volunteer tax preparers into our lobbies to provide assistance.

Outside was a dog-and-pony show of its own, as TV crews lined up to shoot footage of some of the estimated 23 percent of all American taxpayers who wait until the last day to file their return or request an extension. Extra collection runs were a necessity to keep boxes from being stuffed to overflowing.

How times have changed. Electronic filing has taken away a substantial chunk of our tax season business and tax day has become symbolic of the effect electronic diversion has had on our business. How big is the effect?

According to the Internal Revenue Service, in 1997 118 million federal tax returns were filed, with 85 percent, or 100 million, sent by mail. By 2002 the number of returns filed had climbed to 132 million but mailed returns had fallen to 87 million. This year the IRS anticipates receiving 141 million returns, but only 42 million of them will arrive in the mail.

Even at 44 cents per return (many are higher postage), this represents a loss of more than $25 million in revenue that is not coming back. So how do we recover? What is it like in your Post Office or on your route?

Comment here.


Anonymous said...

Those who fail to plan...are planning to fail. I hold on to my tax return too...but I don't wait until the absolute last day to mail it!! I mailed mine on April 7th this year. I remember working at the P&DC and we would take in 100's of short paid tax letters & envelopes, and since you can't postage due the IRS....they were sent back for additional postage and it would be post marked after the 15th!

Anonymous said...

At our P & DC they had a sign up saying "we don't have stamps, we don't have scales to weigh your mail piece but the collection boxes will be picked up until midnight". Service? Where do they go? Would it have been so tough to set out a scale or direct them to the nearest place for help? We may have less people mailing taxes and shame on them for waiting until the last minute but it is still revenue and we should still give service.

Anonymous said...

In my small town I don't get too many last minute filers. When I receive a short-paid mailpiece in the collection box I cancel it, then return it for extra postage so the original postmark is on time. I also check the collection box first thing in the morning on the 16th. Even though customers should check the time on the box, there is publicity about midnight being the deadline so they assume that is for every post office.

Anonymous said...

Level 16 Cag H office: My WIR was over 1300 dollars on tax day. I had a lot of last minute, certified with RR filers and everyone of them was offered additional products. Tax day was great!

Anonymous said...

The loss of revenue is a sad situation, but we can do our jobs better on a daily basis to increase revenue. At our Plant first class and priority mail is blown every day. They take the personnel to work the automated machines.