I used USPS First-Class Mail with tracking to send my State and Federal Tax returns. It's been 10 days and the tracking site has a In Transit, Arriving Late status. What happens if USPS fails to deliver or loses my tax returns?

  • 1
    Do you owe money? Was it included with the tax returns?
    – Pete B.
    Apr 27, 2022 at 17:07
  • 1
    Just FYI: tracking service is not considered "proof of mailing" by the IRS, only certified mail. So if a dispute arises, you won't have acceptable evidence that you mailed it on time.
    – littleadv
    Apr 27, 2022 at 18:31
  • I have a <$10 refund from IRS and nothing due/refund from State. USPS store added a label with postmark date of April 18 on my tax return envelope (which was 2022's last date to file tax return).
    – CraUmm
    Apr 27, 2022 at 19:40
  • If USPS does manage to lose (or destroy) your Federal return, which is uncommon, you can just file another copy -- you did save a copy, right? With no balance due, you actually have until 3 years after the nominal deadline -- April 15 2025 (or next business day) -- with no penalty. But getting years out of order is bad, so if your 2022 income will require filing, you really should get 2021 filed before say February 2023. I believe all states are the same, but don't know for sure and anyway you didn't identify yours. Apr 29, 2022 at 6:13

1 Answer 1


IRS uses the postmark date rather than the delivery date.

From IRS Topic No. 301, second paragraph:

Your return is considered filed on time if the envelope is properly addressed, has enough postage, is postmarked, and is deposited in the mail by the due date. If you file electronically, the date and time in your time zone when your return is transmitted controls whether your return is filed timely. You will later receive an electronic acknowledgement that the IRS has accepted your electronically filed return.

  • The postmark date is April 18, 2022; which was the last date for 2022 for filing tax returns.
    – CraUmm
    Apr 27, 2022 at 19:37

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