Misaddressed Envelope

Today TaxMama hears from Rick in Washington with this problem. “I sent my tax return off on April 15th with my payment. The envelope was returned to us because we had mistakenly put our address sticker on the front.
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If we send this along in a new envelope, what are the chances that we may avoid a penalty for late filing?”

Dear Rick,

Oh goodness, that kind of mistake is so easy to make.

Or slipping the State check into the IRS envelope – or vice versa. Or putting the returns into the wrong envelope.


This is one of the reasons IRS is pushing e-file. For the most part, those kinds of mistakes are avoided.

But that doesn’t help you. What about your situation?

First of all, I’d send the tax return in immediately, with a copy of the envelope and cover letter, explaining what happened. Keep a copy of the cover letter – and the original, returned envelope.

IRS will assess penalties anyway.

When you get the penalty letter from IRS.
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Try to explain again, and ask them nicely to abate (waive) the penalties. IRS will probably refuse.

Try a third time. It may work. It may not.

IRS does specify that you’re responsible for filing your tax return on time and to the right address.

But…it never hurts to ask. Sometimes, the right person will open your request and have a heart. Good luck!

And remember, you can find answers to all kinds of questions about misdirected mail and other tax issues, free. Where? Where else? At TaxMama.com

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