Today TaxMama hears from Jose in the TaxQuips Forum with this distressing problem. He says, “My brother in-law made a mistake on his income tax return envelope by writing the wrong address on it. It was mailed on the 17Th of April, but since there was an error on the receiving address, it was return by the post office. The post office did stamp the date he dropped it off. It also has the message “not able to forward as addressed.” Will it help to waive the penalty for not filing on time, if he includes the envelope when he sends it to the correct address?”
If your brother-in-law’s tax return had a refund coming, or no balance due, there should be no problem. There are no penalties on that. However, if your brother-in-law had a balance due, he may face penalties of up to 5% per month, instead of .5% per month.
Of course, the check was supposed to go to a different address with a voucher. If he sent the payment to the right place – and the tax return to the wrong place – again, there should be no problem because there would have been no balance due.
Certainly, it can do no harm to send a cover letter with the tax return and to include a copy of the envelope, showing the wrong address. If there are late filing penalties, this action might help reduce them. But I doubt it.
Just curious, though. Where did your brother-in-law get the wrong address? If he used an address he found in an IRS publication or instructions page, then, he can certainly get some relief for the penalty. Have him include that information with the cover letter.
IRS or a tax pro reading this will simply say, this is just another reason to efile. However, there are still certain returns that cannot be efiled; so we have no choice.
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