Take it away?

The IRS is encouraging Postal Service and other employees to review their 2019 federal income tax withholding.

According to the IRS, withholding changes made last year as a result of the new tax law may have a different effect if left in place for all of 2019.

The IRS offers an online withholding calculator that can help you determine if you should submit a new Form W-4 to the Postal Service.

You should have your most recent pay stub and federal tax return on hand. The calculator’s results are only as accurate as the information you enter.

According to the IRS, it’s especially important to check your withholding if you:

  • Made withholding changes in 2018
  • Owed tax when you filed your tax return this year
  • Had a refund that was larger or smaller than expected
  • Had life changes, such as marriage, childbirth, adoption or buying a home
  • Had changes to your income
  • Have children and claim credits, such as the child tax credit
  • Have older dependents, including children age 17 or older
  • Itemized deductions in the past
  • Are a two-income family
  • Have two or more jobs at the same time
  • Only work part of the year
  • Have high income or a complex tax return

You can use PostalEASE to make changes to your Form W-4.

If you have questions, you should consult the IRS, a qualified tax preparer or a tax attorney.

Great results

The Postal Service is making progress toward its goal of generating 20,000 sales leads from employees in June, which the organization has designated as #LEADtheWay Month.

USPS offers five programs that allow employees to submit leads: Customer Connect (for letter carriers), Clerks Care (for distribution and machine clerks and retail associates), Mail Handlers (for mail handlers), Rural Reach (for rural carriers) and Submit a Lead (for everyone else, including Executive and Administrative Schedule employees).

So far this month, the programs have produced more than 10,000 leads, up 40 percent from the same point in June 2018. So far during the current fiscal year, the programs have produced more than 77,000 leads that have generated more than $676 million in estimated annualized revenue.

“Everyone knows a business that could benefit from using USPS products and services,” said Mary Anderson, the organization’s small-business sales director. “It could be a small business where you shop, a restaurant where you dine or a firm that provides you with professional services. #LEADtheWay Month is a great opportunity to provide the Postal Service with leads that could help us grow revenue.”

Lucas Roberts, a St. Petersburg, FL, letter carrier, participated in #LEADtheWay Month when he noticed that he was picking up a lot of packages from a customer on his route. Roberts talked to the customer, who explained he operates a home-based business on eBay selling cell phone accessories.

Roberts passed the information along to his manager, which eventually led to USPS closing a sale with the customer that will lead to $60,560 in new revenue.

“I love bringing joy to the customers and the look on their face when I have delivered excellent customer service,” Roberts said.

To submit a lead during #LEADtheWay Month, complete a lead submission card, talk to a local USPS business development specialist or enter the information through the submit a lead link on Blue.

Said Anderson: “When you submit a lead and encourage others to do the same, you are leading the way. That’s what this challenge is all about, and we need everyone to do their part.”

All access

The Minneapolis Main Post Office recently gave tours to thousands of customers through a citywide program to give the public behind-the-scenes access to unique venues.

The office provided 12 public tours during a two-day period. About 3,000 people took the tours, and some groups had as many as 300 participants.

The tours were part of Doors Open Minneapolis, the first event of its kind in the city. The program was inspired by similar events that began in Europe several years ago.

“The Doors Open Minneapolis event was an incredible opportunity for us to share a little bit of history about the Minneapolis Post Office, showcase the beautiful architecture of our 85-year-old building, and provide a rare opportunity to illustrate how technology helps get our customers’ mail processed and delivered,” said Kristy Anderson, strategic communications specialist for Northland District, which includes Minneapolis.

The event aligned with the Postal Service’s broader efforts to improve customers’ experiences, a core strategy.

Said Minneapolis Postmaster Will Jones: “This event was a great opportunity for the Northland District team to showcase what we do each and every day, with pride, commitment and dedication for the American public.”

Proud history

To help mark Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month, here are five facts about the annual commemoration.

1. LGBT Pride Month traces its roots to the Stonewall uprising. In the early hours of June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a tavern in New York City’s Greenwich Village that catered to gay patrons. At the time, police raids on gay bars were common, but that day, the Stonewall patrons fought back. This led to several days of demonstrations that became a rallying point in the gay civil rights movement in the United States and around the world.

2. The first pride celebrations were held in 1970. One year after Stonewall, activists in New York City organized Gay Pride Week and the Christopher Street Liberation Parade, named for the street where the bar is located. The parade began with a trickle of people, but soon others showed up in droves. The march, which received front-page coverage in The New York Times, reportedly spanned more than 50 blocks and took less than half the scheduled time due to the excitement of the participants. Stonewall anniversary activities also took place in Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco that weekend.

3. Pride events evolved during the decades that followed. By the 1980s and 1990s, celebrations were common in major U.S. cities, where they often were held on the last Sunday in June. The marches began dropping “Liberation” and “Freedom” from their names; in San Francisco, for example, the annual event was known for several years as the Gay Freedom Day Parade, but its official name was changed to the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Pride Celebration in 1994. Today, in addition to parades, the annual commemorations often include street festivals, concerts, lectures and more.

4. The rainbow flag is a symbol of LGBT Pride Month. The flag, created by artist Gilbert Baker, debuted at the San Francisco parade in June 1978. Baker reportedly got the idea for the flag after being inspired by “Over the Rainbow,” the famous song by Judy Garland, who died a few days before the Stonewall riots. The flag has gained popularity around the world, becoming an international symbol of LGBT rights.

5. USPS has honored several gay, lesbian and bisexual Americans with stamps. The list includes writers James Baldwin, Edna St. Vincent Millay and Tennessee Williams; dancer Isadora Duncan; elected official Harvey Milk; astronaut Sally Ride; and artists Andy Warhol and Ellsworth Kelly, whose works are featured on stamps released last month.

Got ideas for future editions of “The List”? Email them to uspslink@usps.gov.