Last-minute Dallas tax filers are likely gearing up to get returns in the mail or file electronically over the next few days. While a postmark on your return dated April 15 or before means you’ve filed on time, it may be difficult to prove that fact if your envelope goes missing during the delivery process. Late filings begin to accrue penalties and interest, which can make a tax bill needlessly bigger. Not filing your tax return at all results in a bigger penalty than filing and not being able to pay right away.
One of the easiest ways to gain peace of mind when filing your return is to do so electronically. Electronic returns are considered filed at the time and date of the electronic “mailing” stamp — essentially, this is the time you press the final submit button or a professional does it for you. Confirmation that the return was received generally takes up to 48 hours, but the filing date is set.
There are a number of reasons you might want or have to mail a form. If so, ensure the address for the Internal Revenue Service is correct and that the envelope is postmarked on April 15. If there’s any chance you missed the daily pickup for a home, business or drop box location, bring your envelope directly into the post office to ensure a timely postmark. For extra protection, pay for certified or registered mail without a signature confirmation requirement.
Some individuals like to send tax returns — especially those with large payments attached — via companies such as FedEx or UPS. The IRS also accepts DHL Express shipments, but if you’re filing in the latest pre-deadline hours, opt for next-day or second-day delivery. Ground services don’t count under the mailing rule.
Getting your tax return in on time goes a long way to reducing the chance of penalties and interests. If you do end up with a late return or can’t pay a tax bill, ignoring the problem is the worst thing you can do. Act immediately to understand the problem and work through legal channels for an offer in compromise or installment plan.
Source: Daily Finance, “How to Prove to the IRS You Filed Your Taxes on Time” Dan Caplinger, Apr. 09, 2014