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IRS Tax Filing Deadlines: Be On Time

IRS Tax Filing Deadlines: Be On Time

If you still file a paper return, it is important to know the IRS’s “timely mailed equals timely filed” rule: If your tax return is due April 15, it is considered timely filed if it is postmarked by midnight on April 15. But just because you drop your return in a mailbox on the 15th does not mean you are safe.

Consider this example: On April 15, Susan mails her federal tax return with a payment. The post office loses the envelope, and, by the time Susan realizes what has happened and re-files, two months have passed. She is hit with failure-to-file and failure-to-pay penalties totaling $1,000.

To avoid this risk, use certified or registered mail. Alternatively, you can use one of the private delivery services designated by the IRS to comply with the timely filing rule, such as DHL Same Day service. FedEx and UPS also offer a variety of options that pass muster with the IRS. But beware: If you use an unauthorized delivery service — such as FedEx Express Saver or UPS Ground — your document isn’t “filed” until the IRS receives it.

If you have not filed your return yet and are concerned about meeting the deadline, another option is to file for an extension. Doing so has both pluses and minuses, depending on your situation. Please contact us if you have questions about what you should do to avoid penalties for failing to file or pay.