Still Filing a Paper Return? Be Sure You Understand the “Timely Mailed = Timely Filed” Rule

Still Filing a Paper Return? Be Sure You Understand the “Timely Mailed = Timely Filed” Rule

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The IRS considers a paper return that is due April 15 to be timely filed if it is postmarked by midnight on April 15. But dropping your return in a mailbox on the 15th may not be sufficient.

For example, let’s say you mail your return with a payment on April 15, but the envelope gets lost. You don’t figure this out until a couple of months later when you notice that the check still has not cleared. You then refile and send a new check. Despite your efforts to timely file and pay, you are hit with failure-to-file and failure-to-pay penalties totaling $1,500.

To avoid this risk, use certified or registered mail or one of the private delivery services designated by the IRS to comply with the timely filing rule, such as:

  • FedEx Priority Overnight
  • FedEx Standard Overnight
  • FedEx 2Day
  • UPS Next Day Air Saver
  • UPS 2nd Day Air
  • UPS 2nd Day Air A.M.

Beware: If you use an unauthorized delivery service, your return is not “filed” until the IRS receives it. For example, DHL is no longer an authorized delivery service.

If you are concerned about meeting the April 15 deadline, another option is to file for an extension. We can help you determine if that makes sense for you.

PDI Global   © 2015

About the Author

Keiter CPAs is a certified public accounting firm serving the audittax, accounting and consulting needs of businesses and their owners located in Richmond and across Virginia. We focus on serving emerging growth businesses and companies in the financial servicesconstructionreal estatemanufacturingretail & distribution industries and nonprofits. We also provide business valuations and forensic accounting servicesfamily office services, and inbound international services.

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The information contained within this article is provided for informational purposes only and is current as of the date published. Online readers are advised not to act upon this information without seeking the service of a professional accountant, as this article is not a substitute for obtaining accounting, tax, or financial advice from a professional accountant.


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