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 is postmarked by midnight. But dropping your return in a mailbox on the 18th may not be sufficient.
Let’s say you mail your return with a payment on April 18, but the envelope gets lost. You do not 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 are hit with failure-to-file and failure-to-pay penalties totaling $1,500.
Avoiding penalty risk
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 is not “filed” until the IRS receives it. See IRS.gov for a complete list of authorized services.
If you are concerned about meeting the April 18 deadline, another option is to file for an extension. If you owe tax, you will still need to pay that by April 18 to avoid risk of late-payment penalties as well as interest.
If you are owed a refund and file late, you will not be charged a failure-to-file penalty. However, filing for an extension may still be a good idea.
We can help you determine if filing for an extension makes sense for you—and help estimate whether you owe tax and how much you should pay by April 18. Give us a call at 607-272-5550.