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Tax deadline keeps Hagerstown post office busy

April 16, 2008|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

HAGERSTOWN -- It's the day President Lincoln died, the Titanic sank and Jackie Robinson broke major league baseball's color barrier.

But to millions of people, April 15 is simply "Tax Day."

Which is why one block of West Franklin Street in Hagerstown was like a beehive Tuesday, with people zipping in and out of the post office.

Just about every other person was clutching two familiar envelopes - one containing a federal tax return, the other with a state return.

Why wait until the deadline?

"Why not?" replied Bill Snyder of Williamsport.

Snyder said other things kept him from getting to his taxes until recently. Even so, for him, "April 15 is the magic date," he said.

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Local post offices accommodated people including Snyder Tuesday with later hours.

The West Franklin Street branch was scheduled to keep its lobby open until 8 p.m.

Branches in Martinsburg, W.Va., and Chambersburg, Pa., expected to have employees on hand until midnight.

Starting about 5:15 p.m., letter carrier Joe Bertrand collected tax-return envelopes curbside in Hagerstown, saving deadline filers a trip inside.

"OK, you're safe," he assured one deadline filer.

Bertrand joked about making it a festive event on the sidewalk next year, maybe with hot dogs.

Kathrine Byrkit of Hagerstown, who was in the lobby shortly after 4 p.m., has had something else on her mind lately - another dependent.

"I might be having a baby tomorrow," she said.

Actually, her due date is in three weeks.

Unlike her tax return this year, her other seven children have been delivered early.

Andy Smith of Hagerstown was in line mailing paperwork due for his nonprofit organization, Brothers United Who Dare to Care.

His own tax forms, he said, went out in mid-February.

"I think it's more my wife than myself," he said of the prompt attention to tax records.

Drew McMurtrie of Hagerstown stood behind Smith with a pile of paperwork he had filled out. He needed some direction.

"It's my first time doing it myself," he said.

At the postal window, Kerry Rosfeld of Hagerstown ran into a deficit. Both of his envelopes had 39-cent stamps; he needed to upgrade to 41 cents.

"So I got my two cents in on both of them," he said, smiling.

Some at the post office were much earlier in the process - picking up financial forms - but they weren't keen on identifying themselves and explaining why.

A few mailing their forms on the last day were reluctant to part with money any earlier.

"Normally, it's on time, but I have to pay this time, so I dragged my feet," said Lilian Howard of Hagerstown.

"When you wind up owing, you wait 'til the last minute," Ron Bowers of Maugansville said.

Other things came first this year, so his tax preparations were pushed back.

"I'm usually a month before this," Bowers said.

"I do this every year, and every year I say I'm not going to do it again," Barb Nield of Hagerstown said.

This year, she had a small victory over procrastination. Her paperwork was done April 14 - but the form still went in the mail on the 15th.

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