As New Yorkers recovered from tax day on Thursday, some were more tired than others.
That’s because more than 100 people waited until the very last minute to file at the Farley Post Office on Eighth Avenue, rather than filing online.
As the clock ticked down toward the midnight deadline on April 15, many New Yorkers stood in long lines at the city’s main post office, open late into the night. At 10 p.m., there were about 150 late filers waiting. By 11 p.m., that crowd had dwindled to a few dozen.
“My schedule is very hectic, so as far as getting this filed, I didn’t have time,” said Bronx resident Sophia Green, 24. “But it turns out today, on the last day, I did have time.”
Green, like several people waiting in line on Wednesday evening, usually files electronically. But for one reason or another, several New Yorkers ended up in the cavernous post office or filling out their paper work on the grandiose steps outside.
“Because I’m a singer and I go on auditions all the time a line like this is nothing for me,” said Green, who added she prefers the paper filing anyway. “But next year, I’ll do it much earlier so it’s no so much of a hassle.”
While the lines were long, they weren’t nearly as bad as before e-filing became a popular option. A decade or more ago the lines used to stretch out of the building, said Connie Chirichello, a United States Postal Service spokeswoman. Last year, more than 91% of people filed online, said Patricia Svarnas, a spokeswoman for the Internal Revenue Service.
“It was a party. It was a social thing,” Chirichello said, describing the atmosphere as akin to New Year’s Eve. “Even though we do have millions of people who do file by dropping it in the mail, it’s a lot different than it used to be.”
Manhattan resident John Lant remembers the days when he waited much longer than he did on Wednesday night. Now, 50-year-old Lant usually uses an online software like TurboTax or Tax Act, but because of a computer error found himself once again standing in that roped-off line.
“It’s not too bad,” he said. “I did this back in 1986 and the line was way out back … it was literally around the corner.”
There are certain situations when people have to file in person, rather than online, such as if you are filing for a spouse or dependent, but don’t know their social security number, or if you are claiming a dependent who has already been claimed by someone else, Svarnas said.
Several people waiting in line on Wednesday said they trust filing in person more than the computer, whether from a past bad experience or just an abundance of caution. But not everyone.
“Never again,” said Brooklyn resident Liz Baiardi, 34, who had been waiting in line for about 20 minutes. There was a problem with her attempt to file through tax software and she ended up driving into Manhattan to file at the last minute. “This is the one and only time I’m ever doing this.”