Over 75% of U.S. residents e-filed their taxes for the 2022 tax year. That equates to more than 200 million people. The IRS prefers payers to file online, but e-filing is not the only way to pay your taxes.
Taxpayers can also mail in tax returns. However, the process is a bit more complicated than uploading your tax documents into a software program and clicking through the steps.
Are you wondering how to mail in a tax return the old-fashioned way? You have come to the right place. In this article, we explain everything you need to know about mailing taxes to the IRS.
How to Mail in a Tax Return in 2023
The first step to mailing your tax return is to fill out the correct forms. Individual taxpayers should fill out Form 1040, which you can find at this link. The IRS provides detailed instructions for filling out this form correctly.
Additionally, you must decide your filing status. Are you filing jointly, married filing separately, or individually? Filing status is essential because it impacts your requirements, standard deductions, and tax eligibility.
Once you complete the correct tax forms, you can begin the process of mailing tax returns. Keep reading to learn how to file taxes by mail below.
Use the Right Envelope and Postage
The IRS does not mandate the use of a certain envelope. However, most people’s tax returns are more than a few pages long. Make sure to choose an envelope that is large enough.
Most tax returns will weigh more than 1 ounce. You must use the correct amount of postage or the IRS will return it back to you.
How do you figure out the correct amount of postage? Use a postage scale or a kitchen scale to determine the exact weight of your envelope. Then, use this postage calculator to figure out how much postage you need.
Find Out Where to Mail in Tax Documents
The correct mailing address for the IRS depends on whether the return is for an individual, corporation, or partnership. It also depends on the form number, whether you are filing domestically or internationally, and the state you live in.
You can find a full list of the correct filing addresses at this link on the IRS website. This page allows you to view addresses by state. Then, a graph breaks down the addresses you should use depending on the form you file.
You will also see that there are separate addresses depending on whether you enclose a payment. Even if you file your return by mail, you can pay your taxes online. If you do enclose a payment, ensure you send it to the correct address.
Postmark on or Before the Filing Date
It can take months for a physical tax return to get to the IRS. You may worry that your return will not get to the IRS in time for the deadline. Failing to file your tax returns can result in fees and other penalties.
However, the IRS will consider your tax return on time as long as the mailing service postmarks it by the filing deadline. Mailing services like USPS give postmarking. Depending on the location, they may stay open later on tax day.
The mail service provider will also provide a tracking number. The tracking number will allow you to track your return and see when the IRS receives it.
Get a Certificate of Mailing from the Post Office
This step is not a requirement. However, we highly recommend getting proof of mailing if you include payment with your return. A Certificate of Mailing can protect your return in case it gets lost or delayed.
For example, say the IRS sends you a notice of underpayment. In that case, you can present the Certificate of Mailing to the IRS. That way, you will avoid any fines or interest penalties for failure to pay on time.
A Certificate of Mailing will cost a small fee. But for the peace of mind it provides is more than worth the extra cost. Ask your mailing provider for proof of mailing when you mail in your tax return.
Why Does the IRS Recommend e-Filing?
The IRS recommends e-filing because it is easier for their employees and offers benefits for filers. E-Filing can also prevent unfiled IRS tax returns from piling up because you can’t find your documents.
Keep reading to learn about the benefits of e-filing.
Reduce the Risk of Tax Returns Getting Lost
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for tax returns to get lost. They may get lost in the mail, which is why it’s so crucial to get a Certificate of Mailing. But the IRS has also been known to lose paper tax returns.
Filing online eliminates these risks, making it easier on you and the IRS.
Get Your Tax Refund Faster
According to the IRS, it can take up to six months to process tax returns filed by mail. This process can significantly increase the time it takes for you to get your tax refund.
Filing online speeds up the timeline to get you your refund. The IRS can process it faster.
Did You Miss the Filing Deadline?
In this guide on how to mail in a tax return, we explained the process of sending the IRS paper tax returns. Next year, consider filing online to streamline the process and get your refund much faster.
Are you looking for tips to file your taxes in 2023? The deadline has already passed, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t file. Learn more tax tips for filing on time on our blog.