Navigating Postal Delays: What CPAs and Clients Need to Know

In recent weeks, the United States Postal Service (USPS) and the CPA profession have observed notable delays in mail delivery, which could potentially impact the timely filing of tax returns and payments. As CPAs and advisors to your clients, it is essential to understand the implications of these delays and explore alternative solutions to ensure compliance with tax deadlines.

Understanding the Delays 
The Department of Revenue's (DOR) processing center monitors mail volume daily and has noted delays in mail delivery for several recent weeks. However, the DOR notes that delayed delivery should not impact the effective date of returns or payments unless otherwise required to be filed electronically. The delays noted by the DOR are delivery delays and not postmarks on the original mail.  

Mitigating the Impact 
The IRS and the DOR typically consider the postmark date as the filing date, so if the return or payment is postmarked by the due date, it should be considered timely filed. To read more about “When a Document is treated as filed under the IRC” click here: IRS Timely Mailing Rule - Internal Revenue Manual (IRM) (10-02-2023).
To minimize the impact of these delays, the DOR Facilities Team is coordinating late pickups and adjusting schedules for later morning drop-offs by the USPS. This adjusted schedule ensures that outgoing mail has the best chance of being processed promptly. 

For those filers who require proof of receipt, many already opt for private carriers like UPS and FedEx, which offer tracking and confirmation services. However, the most reliable method, especially in times of postal uncertainty, is electronic filing. 
Recommendations for CPAs and Clients 
Given the current postal delays, CPAs should advise their clients to consider electronic filing whenever possible. For those who must submit paper returns or payments, it's crucial to ensure that the postmark date is before the deadline and also to allow extra time for delivery. Lastly, filers can consider using certified mail or private carriers for important documents. 

In conclusion, CPAs can mitigate the impact of postal delays by being proactive and embracing electronic filing. 

Please don't hesitate to contact Don Cook, Vice President, Legislative Affairs, with questions or concerns.