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The Tax Court takes a snow day

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in Office Management,Payroll Management

It snowed a lot during the winter of 2015. In fact, it snowed so much that the Tax Court ruled that a taxpayer’s petition was timely filed even though it was one day late, because the federal government was closed for a snow day on the day the petition was due. (Guralnik v. Commissioner, U.S. Tax Court, No. 4358-15, 2015)

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow? A taxpayer had until Feb. 17, 2015, to file a petition in Tax Court to dispute an IRS lien on his property.

Twist: The federal government, including the Tax Court, was officially closed on Feb. 17 due to snow. The court processed the petition the next day.

The IRS wanted the case dismissed, arguing that the petition was late.

IRS: The Tax Court’s weather-related closing isn’t the same as closing on a legal holiday. The Tax Court disagreed and ruled that the petition was timely filed.

Tax Court: An official closing of the District of Colum­­bia, including the federal government and the Tax Court, because of a winter storm is the equivalent of a legal holiday under tax code Section 7503.

It’s up to your knees out there. It’s unlikely that the IRS will go along with this decision, at least as far as tax filings are concerned. If you’re not e-filing your returns, you must ensure that your forms are postmarked by the due date or that you use a designated delivery option from an IRS-approved private delivery service (PDS).

Result: Under the timely mailing rule, documents are considered timely filed if they’re postmarked (or time stamped by a PDS) by the due date, even if the IRS never receives them.

Warning: PDS’ offer many delivery choices, but only these IRS-designated delivery options qualify under the timely mailing rule:

• FedEx: First Overnight, Standard Overnight, 2Day, International First Next Flight Out, Inter­­na­­tional Priority, International First and Inter­­na­­tional Economy

• United Parcel Service: Next Day Air, Next Day Air Early A.M., Next Day Air Saver, 2nd Day Air, 2nd Day Air A.M., Worldwide Express Plus and Worldwide Express.

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