Because of a weekend and a Washington, D.C., holiday, the 2016 tax return filing deadline for individual taxpayers is Tuesday, April 18. The IRS considers a paper return that’s due April 18 to be timely filed if it’s postmarked by midnight. But dropping your return or your payment for an electronically filed return in a mailbox on the 18th may not be sufficient.
Let’s say you mail your payment on April 18, but the envelope gets lost. You don’t figure this out until a couple of months later when you notice that the check still hasn’t cleared. You then refile and send a new check. Despite your efforts to timely file and pay, you’re hit with failure-to-pay penalties.
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:
- DHL Express 9:00, Express 10:30, Express 12:00 or Express Envelope,
- FedEx First Overnight, Priority Overnight, Standard Overnight or 2Day, or
- UPS Next Day Air Early A.M., Next Day Air, Next Day Air Saver, 2nd Day Air A.M. or 2nd Day Air.
Beware: If you use an unauthorized delivery service, your return isn’t “filed” until the IRS receives it. Also know that you may need to use a different mailing address if you use a private delivery service. See IRS.gov  for a complete list of authorized services and the correct address to use.
If you’re concerned about meeting the April 18 deadline, another option is to file for an extension. If you owe tax, you’ll still need to pay that by April 18 to avoid risk of late-payment penalties as well as interest. Remember to mail these payments using one of the above authorized delivery services.
Need an extension? We can help you estimate whether you owe tax and how much you should pay by April 18.