For two decades, they've been procrastinators' best friends on Tax Day.
They are the musicians and cloggers who lighten the mood at the Lawrence post office, 645 Vt., for those rushing in, as late as midnight, to send off their tax returns.
"It's just kind of a Lawrence thing. This is a great town for that type of stuff," said Steve Mason, of The Alferd Packer Memorial String Band.
But today, with the number of late filers dwindling over the years, the annual Tax Day party will have a different feel. The post office will close at its normal time, 5:30 p.m., because of a district U.S. Postal Service decision, said Lawrence Postmaster Judy Raney.
"There are a lot more people filing electronically now," she said.
Mason added that in recent years fewer people have bumped up against the April 15 mailing deadline.
Internal Revenue Service spokesman Michael Devine said the agency expects 78 percent of Kansans to file their returns electronically, including some who have waited until the last minute today.
Raney said the post office still sees a rush of people trying to beat the April 15 mailing deadline, but the postal service has decided not to treat this deadline differently than others.
The last two years, the downtown post office was open until 7 p.m. for tax filers, and for many years people had until midnight in Lawrence.
But today's normal closing time won't bring a Lawrence tradition to a halt.
Mason has invited all acoustic musicians to the post office lobby from 5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. for a jam session. They might even play the traditional "William Tell Overture" if people trickle in.
They also plan to return to the lobby at 7 p.m. for the traditional music and dancing. The lobby doesn't close.
"It's the end of the tax season. Your taxes are due. It's time for a party," Mason said.
Tax day tips
¢ If you miss the mail collection deadline in Lawrence, you can drop off mail that has postage by midnight at the Kansas City Processing and Distribution Center, 1700 Cleveland Ave., Kansas City, Mo., or the General Mail Facility, 1410 N.W. Gage Blvd., in Topeka.
¢ If you file electronically, visit www.irs.gov. If your adjusted gross income was less than $54,000 in 2007, you qualify for Free File. If not, the Web site can guide you to IRS e-file partners online.
¢ At www.irs.gov, you can also get access to a Form 4868 to send in a six-month filing extension or e-file it through the Web site. Even with an extension, you should still pay by today if you are required to, said Michael Devine, an IRS spokesman.
Sources: IRS, U.S. Postal Service