Some Wheeling Post Office customers got an unwelcome surprise Tuesday evening when they learned their taxes would not be dated April 15 - the filing deadline.
Wheeling Postmaster Matt Dodd declined to comment Wednesday morning. But postal patrons were told by their fellow customers that those who mailed their taxes Tuesday evening, after the collection time passed, would have their mail postmarked April 16 instead.
For several customers this was confusing, as the lobby to the facility still was open, allowing people to submit their mail. In years past the Wheeling Post Office has stayed open until midnight to allow last-minute filers to have their taxes postmarked on time.
Tad Kelley, United States Postal Service-West Virginia spokesman, said the post office has not had late operating hours for nearly five years because the USPS is trying to cut costs. He said not keeping the late hours has nothing to do with the Wheeling Post Office losing its processing center - and postmark - a few years ago.
"We simply don't have the added mail to justify leaving it open," Kelley said.
Meanwhile, Mark Hanson, an IRS West Virginia spokesman, said he could not talk about specific cases, but those who do not owe money will not be penalized for filing late. Those who do owe money but filed late need to show reasonable cause for not filing on time to not face fines.
According to information provided by Hanson, those who file their returns more than 60 days after the deadline would face a minimum penalty of $135 or 100 percent of the unpaid tax - whichever is smaller.
West Virginia Tax Department officials could not be reached for comment.