If you’re the last-minute type, here’s a friendly reminder that it’s Tax Day on Monday. Your federal, state and local tax returns will be due, unless you file for an extension.
According to the IRS, most returns are due on Monday. Special rules might apply to farmers, those filing on a fiscal year basis, civilian and military personnel in combat zones, taxpayers outside the United States and those affected by a disaster.
If you are mailing your return, you’ll have until 7 p.m. to get it postmarked at the Akron Main Post Office at 675 Wolf Ledges Parkway. You’ll have until 10 p.m. if you want to go up to the Cleveland Post Office at 2400 Orange Ave.
In Cleveland, the traffic flow in the customer parking will be reversed about 3 p.m. to accommodate the anticipated increase in customer volume, officials said. Curbside collectors will work until 10 p.m. to accept prepared returns with postage already affixed.
Postal officials suggest that customers who mail their returns on April 15 should check with their local post office or read the times on the collection box to make sure their return will be collected and postmarked before the deadline. Also, any letters or packages weighing 13 ounces or more must be brought to a post office and handed to a clerk.
The Internal Revenue Service will accept returns sent via Express Mail or with Delivery Confirmation for those customers who would like verification that their return was delivered. The IRS accepts the postmark on the envelope as proof of timely filing.
A large majority of taxpayers are filing electronically. If you are e-filing, go online to www.irs.gov.
If you need more time, you should still file, even if you can’t pay the full amount due. You can get an automatic six-month extension to Oct. 15 by going online to www.irs.gov and clicking on the Free File link. The form you need is Form 4868.
Remember, an extension gives you extra time to get your paperwork in, but does not extend the time you have to pay what you owe. You will still owe interest on any amount not paid by Monday, plus possible penalties.
If you need last-minute help, you can call the IRS toll-free number from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday at 800-829-1040.
The Akron office at 2 S. Main St. opens at 8:30 a.m. Monday and will stay open until 6 p.m. No appointments are necessary. The office is closed for lunch from noon to 1 p.m.
In Canton, the IRS office at 301 McKinley Ave. SW will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The office is closed for lunch from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
Here are some tips from the Postal Service:
• Check the last pickup time if mailing in a street collection box to make sure that your return will be collected later that day.
• If possible, mail your returns using the address labels or pre-addressed envelopes sometimes provided by local, state and federal agencies.
• Always include your return address.
• Make sure your tax return has sufficient postage. If you are mailing a number of supplementary forms and schedules with your return, the envelope is likely to weigh more than 1 ounce. Note: tax agencies do not pay postage that is due. Mail without the proper postage is returned to sender.
• Oversized and extra thick envelopes might require additional postage. If in doubt, use lobby scales or ask a postal clerk for assistance.
• For increased security reasons, envelopes or parcels weighing more than 13 ounces must be presented to a clerk at the window. Items weighing more than 13 ounces dropped in a collection box could be returned to the sender.
About death certificates
Here’s an update and clarification about my column March 31 about reporting the death of a spouse to credit bureaus.
After a few readers asked whether certified death certificates could be returned since they are costly, I checked with the three credit bureaus.
All three — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — clarified that certified, or official copies of death certificates, are not required and a photocopy will suffice. The mailing information in the column is all otherwise accurate; this will just save you the $20 or so for the official copies.
The column, with updated information, can be found at www.ohio.com/betty.
Wayne, a reader from Akron, phoned to tell the story about his house being damaged during a hailstorm last summer. His insurance company paid for a new roof. But when Wayne recently received the paperwork for the renewal of his homeowner’s insurance, he noticed that the company hadn’t updated his paperwork indicating that he had a new roof.
Once Wayne called his agent to update the information, it resulted in a $159 savings in his premium.
“The new roof was $4,000 to $5,000. With newer materials, it’s more likely it could sustain high winds and hail where something toward the end of its life is more apt to fail,” he said.
Wayne said the agent did not seem too surprised that the information wasn’t already updated by the insurance company.
I phoned Mary Bonelli, a spokeswoman with the Ohio Insurance Institute, which represents the state’s property and casualty insurance companies. Bonelli agreed with Wayne’s assessment for why his premium went down with the newer roof.
Bonelli said it’s always advisable to contact your insurer after any type of upgrade you make to your house — whether it’s your own upgrade or one paid for by the insurance company. Those upgrades could include a new roof, monitored alarm systems or new electrical wiring.
“Some will give discounts and some will readjust the premium,” she said.
Just because the insurer paid for the repairs, that doesn’t necessarily mean the policy is updated, Bonelli said.
That’s why the institute recommends a yearly checkup with your insurer or agent to make sure that everything is up to date.
“It may mean a cost savings,” she said.