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Taxpayers Give Uncle Sam His Due

Alex Bernaden III, of New Berlin, Wis,. works on some last minuet tax files at the post office in Milwaukee, Monday April 17, 2006, the final day for taxes. (AP Photo/Darren Hauck)
AP
Spotted two extra days by a friendly calendar, procrastinating taxpayers scrambled Monday to file their returns on time - and grudgingly give up whatever they owed.

In Little Rock, Ark., Ronald Edwards said he had been clinging as long as possible to the $2,500 he owed to the state and federal governments. He finally gave in on the last day.

"If I had a refund, you wouldn't see me here right now," said Edwards, a 49-year-old computer programmer. "If I'm going to pay, I'm not doing it until the last second."

Charles Lane, 67, a retired postal worker from Philadelphia, had the same idea.

He had vivid memories of things getting pretty rough at the office on tax deadline day. Nevertheless, he was one of a steady stream of last-minute filers headed to the post office Monday.

"I wasn't getting any money back," Lane said. "I was in no hurry."

With April 15 falling on a Saturday this year, taxpayers nationwide had at least until Monday to file their returns.

Ralph Savage, 63, of Philadelphia, started thinking about doing his taxes in March. But like always, he said he found himself running to the post office on the last day.

"My nickname is Mr. Procrastinator," Savage said.

Jake McElligott, 38, a university administrator from Pittsburgh, said he completed his return but sat on it before filing just under the wire.

"I owed money. I was going to file on the last day, whenever it was," he said. "They were done awhile ago, but I just held on to that money as long as I could."

As midnight approached, workers outside Philadelphia's main post office were taking stamped envelopes from motorists. Inside, volunteers helped the harried with last-minute questions.

"If you want to know what Times Square is like and you've never been, just come down here between 11 and 12," Frederick J. Hagen said. "We want to remove the stress that people will turn into Cinderella's pumpkins when deadline hits."

A holiday observed Monday in Massachusetts gave some taxpayers an automatic extension. Patriots Day commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord, the beginning of the Revolutionary War.

That meant taxpayers in states that file with the IRS office in Andover, Mass. - Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont and the District of Columbia - had until Tuesday, according to Peggy Riley, an IRS spokeswoman. Except for taxpayers in Massachusetts and Maine, which also observes Patriots Day, the extension applies only to federal returns, according to the IRS Web site.