How to Send Federal Tax Returns by Certified Mail

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Mailing your tax return by USPS Certified Mail provides verification.
Mailing your tax return by USPS Certified Mail provides verification. (Image: Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images)

Your federal tax return contains several pieces of personal information that should be protected. You may need to send your federal tax return by mail or may simply prefer to. Either way, sending your return using the U.S. Postal Service's Certified Mail Service provides you with proof that your return was mailed and received. Using Certified Mail also ensures you will have an accurate date of delivery of your tax return.

Things You'll Need

  • Federal tax return and accompanying forms
  • U.S. Post Office Certified Mail form

Go to your local branch of the U.S. Postal Service and obtain a green Certified Mail form 3800.

Write on the envelope the IRS address that is applicable to the state in which you reside (see Resources). Write the address where indicated on form 3800.

Peel away the backing from the top of the Certified Mail sticker, which is attached to form 3800 at the top. Affix the sticker to the top of the envelope so that the words "Certified Mail" can be read. Be sure not to cover the address with the sticker.

Calculate the postage due on the envelope by using a postal scale or a local Postal Service clerk. Sending a letter by Certified Mail costs an extra $2.95 in addition to the cost of postage.

Track your mail and confirm delivery by going to the USPS Track & Confirm Page (see Resources).

Tips & Warnings

  • You can also send your tax return with a Domestic Return Receipt (USPS form 3811) for an additional charge of $2.35. This will provide you with evidence of the date of delivery, as well as the signature of the recipient.

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