Residents Taxing to Pay

Residents Taxing to Pay

Potomac Falls resident Marilyn Szoke waited until 4:45 p.m. on Monday to pay her income taxes, which were due by 11:59 p.m. that day.

“This is the first year I had to pay, that’s why I waited,” Szoke said as she stood in line with about 25 other people at the Potomac Falls Branch Post Office, scheduled to close in 45 minutes.

The Sterling Main Post Office closed at 5 p.m. and the Dulles Finance Unit at midnight on April 15, tax day. Staff working at the Dulles post office took tax forms outside in a drive-through area and inside the main building, where last-minute taxpayers could purchase stamps, get their mail certified and receive regular services.

“I’m insecure. I want to see them put a stamp on it,” Szoke said about deciding to wait in line for 20 minutes instead of dropping her forms in the mailbox.

The line Szoke waited in extended to the entrance as it had all day, according to Linda Strong, branch manager of the Potomac Falls Branch. “It’s been busy as expected,” Strong said, adding that business on Monday was four times busier than usual. Yet, “Everything’s been going smooth like last year.”

THE THREE WINDOWS at the Potomac Falls Branch were staffed with clerks the entire day, while another employee worked in the lobby to direct customers to find what they needed and to answer questions.

“It’s worse than Christmas because people want extra services, like certified mail, something extra that takes time,” said Jim Farley, Sterling postmaster, adding that business started picking up last week. “We try to keep it as light as we possibly can. … We try to be as polite as we can on a stressful day. It’s not like Christmas when everyone’s in a good mood.”

Strong said most of the customers who waited in line purchased postage or got their mail certified. “Most people wait because they owe. I guess it’s an interest type of thing. ‘I don’t want to pay Uncle Sam interest, so I’ll wait until the last day,’” she said.

That’s why School Board member John Andrews waited. “My money is in an interest-bearing account, so I’m waiting to the last minute, and I had other business here,” Andrews of Countryside said at about 4:40 p.m. as he waited to drop off his tax forms, rent a post office box and buy stamps.

Same for Potomac Falls resident Cindy Amos. “We owed, so why pay early?” she said.

Sterling resident Debbie Udokwere procrastinated mailing off her forms though she already had her tax forms completed and expected to receive a refund, she said.

“I have something else I needed to get certified, so I brought it with me to drop off,” Udokwere said.

“This is the normal April 15. It will stay busy,” Strong said.