How Do I Make Sure the IRS Receives My Federal Tax Return on Time?

Resources for Tax Return Mailing and Delivery

woman filing taxes for small business

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In response to the coronavirus pandemic, on March 21, 2020, the IRS announced a 90-day extension for filing and paying 2019 income tax returns. The new due date for returns is July 15, 2020. This extension includes small business owners and an extension for filing the first-quarter 2020 estimated tax payment. 

Federal Income Tax Due Dates 

These are the tax return due dates that have been extended to July 15, 2020: 

  • Personal tax returns on Form 1040 or 1040-SR
  • Sole proprietors and single-member LLCs filing Schedule C along with their personal tax returns
  • Partners, multiple-member LLC members, and S corporation owners filing Schedule K-1 for their share of their business 
  • For corporations with a December 31 year-end filing Form 1120.
  • First-quarter estimated tax payments for individuals and small businesses have also been extended from April 15 to July 15.

These tax return due dates are not affected by the 90-day extension: 

  • Partnerships and multiple-member LLCs, Form 1065 and S corporations filing business taxes on Form 1120S filing by March 15, 2020.
  • It's not clear yet how corporations

Mailing Your Tax Return 

For individuals (including small business owners), mail your individual tax return (Form 1040 or 1040 SR) to the IRS based on your location. This article by the IRS gives you mailing addresses for each state. 

Mailing in your tax return takes extra time in normal circumstances, and even more time during the coronavirus emergency. The IRS strongly urges you to file electronically. See below for more information on e-filing.

Mailing addresses for partnership returns (Form 1065), corporation returns (Form 1120), and S corporations (1120S) are listed on this IRS "Where to File" page by form number. 

Some tips from the U.S. Postal Service:

Use correct postage. Weigh your return or take it to the post office to weigh. Tax returns sent without enough postage will be returned.

You can buy a certificate of mailing at the post office to prove that you mailed your return on a specific date. Keep the certificate; the post office doesn't keep copies. 

The postmark is what counts when mailing your business tax return. Some post offices offer extended hours and late postmarking before tax day. 

E-filing Your Tax Return

The IRS encourages using one of its free-file options for Form 1040 or 1040-SR. You can use IrS Free File is your adjusted gross income is $69,000 or less, or you can use Free File fillable forms. 

You may be able to qualify to get free tax help from the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program if your income is $56,000 or less, if you are disabled, or you have limited English. if you are 60 or older, you may qualify for the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program. Because of the coronvirus emergency, many of these sites may be closed. Call 800-906-9887 to find an open location near you. 

You can also use commercial tax preparation software, or a paid preparer to e-file. They will charge you for preparing the return but e-filing is usually included. 

​Beware of fake IRS E-file sites! They will take your information and charge you to file. If you qualify to use IRS free file, there's no charge.  

Filing and Paying Corporate Taxes

If you are filing an income tax return for your corporation or S corporation (including LLCs electing to be taxed as a corporation or S corporation), you must use approved software and/or a tax professional who is an Authorized e-file Provider.  

Paying Your Taxes Due

Making your tax payments online is the best way to pay.  

For individual tax returns and small business returns (LLC owners, sole proprietors, or partners in partnerships), if your adjusted gross income was $69,000 or less you can use one of several IRS e-pay options. 

For corporation and partnership returns, use the IRS Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS).

Can I Use a Private Delivery Service?

Yes, but you can only use certain IRS-approved services.

The IRS lists DHL, Federal Express, and UPS as designated private delivery services. But only some of the services from these companies are acceptable, according to the IRS, as follows:

  • DHL Express (DHL): DHL Express 9:00, DHL Express 10:30, DHL Express 12:00, DHL Express Worldwide, DHL Express Envelope, DHL Import Express 10:30, DHL Import Express 12:00, DHL Import Express Worldwide
  • Federal Express (FedEx): FedEx First Overnight, FedEx Priority Overnight, FedEx Standard Overnight, FedEx 2 Day, FedEx International Next Flight Out, FedEx International Priority, FedEx International First, FedEx International Economy
  • United Parcel Service (UPS): UPS Next Day Air Early AM, UPS Next Day Air, UPS Next Day Air Saver, UPS 2nd Day Air, UPS 2nd Day Air A.M., UPS Worldwide Express Plus, UPS Worldwide Express.

What About Filing an Extension Application?

You can e-file an extension application or mail it to the IRS. There are two application forms - Form 7004 for corporations and partnerships and Form 4868 for other business types and personal tax returns.

You can get an automatic extension by filing your tax return, but NOT on paying the tax you owe. You can automatically file an extension application by paying the tax due by the due date. You can get an automatic extension by paying the tax you owe. 

Article Sources

  1. IRS. "Tax Day Now July 15." Accessed Mar. 31, 2020.

  2. U.S. Postal Service. "Mail Your Tax Return with USPS." Accessed Mar. 31, 2020.

  3. IRS. "Electronic Filing Options for Individuals." Accessed Mar. 31, 2020.

  4. IRS. "Free Tax Return Preparation for Qualifying Taxpayers." Accessed Mar. 31, 2020.

  5. IRS. "Private Delivery Services PDS." Accessed Mar. 31, 2020.