U.S. Postal Service

Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Today is the IRS tax filing deadline.  

But, like last year, Austin area U.S. Post Offices will not stay open until midnight. Post offices across the country are cutting down on late hours for tax day.  That’s because most people now file online.

"According to the Internal Revenue Service, this year over 90 percent of tax returns nationwide have already been electronically filed online," USPS said in a press release. "Of the 148 million returns the IRS expects to be filed this year, only 23 million will be paper returns, down seven percent from last year."


The days of procrastinating until midnight to mail your taxes are over. For the first time in years, Austin's U.S. Postal Service will not have extended hours on tax day. 

Due to increases in electronic filing, the agency's spokesperson in Austin said that it can no longer justify staying open until midnight on April 15.

The U.S. Postal Service has backed off a plan to halt Saturday mail delivery, saying that Congress has forced it to continue the service despite massive cost overruns.

In a statement released Wednesday, the USPS Board of Governors said restrictive language included in the latest Continuing Resolution, which keeps the government operating until September in lieu of a budget, prevents it from going ahead with the plan.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Update (Jan. 21. 2013): Outbox has announced it is ceasing operations. Read more here.

An Austin company is expanding its concept of undoing the work of the United States Postal Service. 

Outbox picks up its customers’ mail, scans it, and makes it available online. The company announced today that it will start serving San Francisco and parts of Silicon Valley, after testing its service in Austin since 2011.

Outbox workers open and scan letters, catalogs and flyers. Customers log in to Outbox’s website to see their – now-digital – mail. You never have to go to your mailbox. The cost? About 5 bucks a month.

(We updated the top of this post at 10:37 a.m. ET.)

Calling it "absolutely necessary" if the U.S. Postal Service is going to stop losing billions of dollars a year and reach anything close to financial stability, Postmaster Gen. Patrick Donahoe confirmed Wednesday morning that USPS is moving to eliminate Saturday delivery of first-class mail.

Prices on mail sent through the U.S. Postal Service increased this week — the price of a first-class stamp now costs 46 cents, up a penny. But for small businesses that ship products overseas, like many independent record labels, the costs could be much larger.

Brian Lowit, who has worked at Washington, D.C.'s Dischord Records for 10 years, says that while a postage rate hike is a familiar bump in the road, "I've never seen one this drastic."

Wikimedia Commons user WhisperToMe, http://bit.ly/ZUddgq

Austin's new downtown post office is opening today at 823 Congress Ave.

The new 7,118-square-foot postal facility will provide full postal retail services and house PO boxes for postal customers with ZIP codes 78767 and 78768. The hours of operation will remain the same: 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and closed on Saturday and Sunday.


It’s that time of year when our mailboxes fill up not just with bills and credit card applications, but holiday greetings.

While most of us enjoy getting cards and notes on holidays and birthdays for the most part, the tradition of sending and receiving personal snail mail seems to be fading. Just ask the U.S. Postal Service.

One local man isn’t out to save the post office, but he does want more of us to get back to putting pens to paper.

United States Postal Service

The U.S. Postal Service unveiled new stamps Friday honoring Lady Bird Johnson. The First Lady would have celebrated her 100th birthday next month.

The set features Johnson’s official White House portrait along with adaptations of five stamps first issued in the 1960’s. Those commemorate her legacy for preserving nature and beautifying cities.

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center hosted a dedication ceremony for the stamps today. The center's officials say it's an important honor for Johnson and one that she deserves.

Photo courtesy Jimmy Wayne, flickr.com/auvet

The United States Postal Service has announced a plan that will keep thousands of small and rural post offices open – cancelling an earlier plan to close up to 3,700 locations. The new plan will keep the current post office locations in place but will modify their hours of operation.

Lobby and post office box services will remain the same, but over 13,000 smaller post offices could reduce their business day to two to six hours, including over a dozen location in Blanco, Martindale, Maxwell and Caldwell counties.

Postmaster General and USPS CEO Patrick R. Donahoe cites demand from customers as the reason for the shift. “We believe today’s announcement will serve our customers’ needs and allow us to achieve real savings to help the Postal Service return to long-term financial stability,” he says in a press release.

Photo by KUT News.

20 Years Since Yogurt Shop Murders

Today marks 20 years since the Austin yogurt shop murders, and the case remains unsolved. Four teenage girls were murdered at a north Austin yogurt shop in December 1991. The victims were 13 year-old Amy Ayers, 17-year old Eliza Thomas and sisters Sarah and Jennifer Harbison, who were 15 and 17.

In October 2009, Travis County prosecutors dropped murder charges against two men who had been convicted of the murders, amid new DNA evidence and allegations of coerced confessions. A third suspect in the murders was fatally shot by a police officer last year after slashing the officer with a knife.