Still Filing a Paper Return? Be Sure You Understand the “Timely Mailed = Timely Filed” Rule
Posted on 04.07.15
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.
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