Forbes’ Peter J. Reilly recounts the tale of a man who received a “notice of deficiency” from the IRS, giving him 90 days to appeal the notice, or cough up $41,849.25. Not surprisingly, the gentleman chose to appeal the notice. Unfortunately, he waited until the last minute to do so:
Mr. Sander’s petition did not arrive in the Tax Court that late. It was supposed to be there on Friday May 3.
On Monday, May 6, 2013, petitioner filed a petition with this Court seeking redetermination of the deficiency and a fraud penalty. The petition, which is dated Wednesday, May 1, 2013, was delivered to the Court by United Parcel Service, Inc. (UPS), a private delivery service, in an envelope bearing a UPS label dated May 2, 2013, and indicating that it had been sent by “UPS Ground” service.
Here’s the thing. If Mr. Sanders had used the United States Postal Service, he would have been fine, even if the petition had been delivered a few days later.
Why? Because, as most people know, even in these days of electronic filing, the IRS accepts a postmark as proof of the date of filing. What qualifies as a postmark? The familiar USPS cancellation works, of course, but the IRS also accepts “postmarks” from UPS and FedEx- but only if you use an IRS approved level of service. To quote the court decision:
insofar as UPS is concerned, the list of designated private delivery services is as follows: UPS Next Day Air, UPS Next Day Air Saver, UPS 2nd Day Air, UPS 2nd Day Air A.M., UPS Worldwide Express Plus, and UPS Worldwide Express
Not UPS Ground. So the unfortunate Mr. Sanders had to pay up. I don’t know how much he “saved” by using UPS Ground instead of UPS 2nd Day Air, but it still cost him more than a first class stamp would have! Even before you add in the $41,849.25.
Reilly has another story about mailing tax appeals here. In this case simply using the USPS didn’t help!