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Lessons from the Tax Court: Deliver documents on time

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in Small Business Tax

Does it absolutely, positively, have to be there overnight? A tax return or Tax Court petition is deemed to be filed in a timely manner if it is mailed on time through an IRS-approved delivery service. But not every service qualifies.

New case: A taxpayer filed a petition with the Tax Court using FedEx Express Saver Third Business Day Delivery. The petition was due July 7, 2011, and mailed that day, but it wasn’t received until July 11. The taxpayer said the delivery was timely because he used an IRS-approved private delivery service. But the IRS pointed out that third-business-day delivery isn’t specifically approved for this purpose.

The Tax Court was sympathetic, but said that it can’t extend the filing deadline. The taxpayer’s only recourse is to pay the tax and sue in federal court for a refund. (Scaggs, TC Memo 2012-258)

Tip: Use private delivery services that are specifically approved by the IRS or, even better, file electronically.

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