1. This is the first time I am sending mail and a check inside an envelope to the IRS and I am wondering should I use certified mail by USPS for sending my envelope, or would simple USPS mail be fine?

  2. Can I use USPS Priority mail service?

Please advise the best way to send such mail.


  • 2
    Just a tip if you are mailing a check to the IRS. Spell out "Internal Revenue Service" on the check instead of making it out to simply "IRS". There is a scam where people change the payee to "MRS (Insert my name)" turning the I into an M. – JohnFx Feb 21 '14 at 22:32
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    Actually, the tax check is supposed to be made out to "U.S. Treasury." – Ben Miller - Reinstate Monica Apr 6 '16 at 10:39

If the document must be postmarked by a specific date or there are dire consequences then use a method of mailing that gives you that dated postmark receipt.

According to the IRS

Your return is considered filed timely if the envelope is properly addressed and postmarked no later than April 15

If you don't want to use the US Postal Service:

Taxpayers or Tax Professionals can use certain private delivery services designated by the IRS to meet the "timely mailing as timely filing/paying" rule for tax returns and payments. These private delivery services include only the following:

  • DHL Express (DHL): DHL Same Day Service.

  • Federal Express (FedEx): FedEx Priority Overnight, FedEx Standard Overnight, FedEx 2Day, FedEx International Priority, and FedEx International First.

  • United Parcel Service (UPS): 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.

The private delivery service can tell you how to get written proof of the mailing date.

What would be dire consequences?

  • Having to report a 83-b election within thirty days of the transaction. Failure to do so would impact your tax situation for years.
  • Owing a large sum of money and wanting to wait until the last day to send it in.

If there are no dire consequences for hitting a specific date then regular mail is fine. In some cases electronic submission is even better because of the electronic receipt.

If you are concerned about the check falling into the wrong hands you could also pay by credit card or debit card. But that also has risks and costs.

  • With April 15th so far away, OP can see his check clear well before he'd miss the due date. As you implied toward end. +1 – JTP - Apologise to Monica Feb 21 '14 at 12:55
  • Thanks ! Is Certified mail a good option? – John Feb 21 '14 at 17:47
  • Actually certified is not needed, that gets the signature at the place it was delivered. You want a Certificate of mailing, which proves you mailed the letter. usps.com/ship/insurance-and-extra-services.htm? – mhoran_psprep Feb 21 '14 at 18:03
  • Probably Priority mail is a good option then?. I have an option to print out the label(using Click N ship of USPS) at home online and I don't even need to go to post office. BTW if I do this, and if 3 out of my 4 envelopes are going to same address, should I put all the envelope in one big flat rate Priority Mail envelope or should I send them separately in a separately Priority Mail Flat rate envelope which will cost more to me? Please advise. Thanks – John Feb 21 '14 at 22:49
  • what is the deadline? – mhoran_psprep Feb 21 '14 at 23:54

Thanks a lot for raising this question, and @mhoran_psprep thanks a ton for the answer too.

Struggled a bit to figure out the address that need to be used when we go for Non-USPS. In my case FedEx would not accept the below address:

Department of the Treasury, 
Internal Revenue Service, 
Austin, Texas 73301-0215.

They ask for a physical street address instead. Here is the Austin address I ended up having to use to ship with FedEx:

Internal Revenue Submission Processing Center,
3651 South Interregional Highway 35,
Austin, TX  78741.
Phone 1-800-829-1040

I had called the Customer Care and stayed on call for a while to figure it out; I hope my answer might help some one else.

Here's a link to the IRS' own list of addresses for processing centers, containing addresses for centers beyond Austin.

  • 1
    Note that the address will be different for residents of other states. – keshlam Apr 5 '16 at 21:13
  • Or my first google hit for "IRS courier addresses" = irs.gov/uac/… combined with the state-SPC mapping (@keshlam) on the last page of 1040, 1040A and 1040EZ instructions and the next-to-last page of pub 17. – dave_thompson_085 Apr 7 '16 at 0:53

I don't see a direct answer to

should I use certified mail by USPS for sending my envelope, or would simple USPS mail be fine?

I see USPS having:

  • Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express, from $6.65.
  • First-Class Mail, from $0.49 (the regular one).

First-Class Mail cannot be ordered with a printable label and tracking number at usps.com.

While First-Class Mail CAN be used for mailing your tax forms, I choose Priority Mail just to be sure I know it's delivered and I have a proof of it.

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