Belleville: 618-234-9800 | Edwardsville: 618-656-2244 | ST. LOUIS: 314-421-2325

By: Rebecca K. Wohltman | Contributions Made By: Law Clerk, Sara E. Rutherford

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision in Pond V. United States reminding taxpayers that sending mail to the IRS via first class mail does not establish a presumption that the mail was timely delivered to the IRS.

Under Internal Revenue Code Section 7502, a taxpayer can rely on a presumption that a “return, claim, statement, or other document, or payment” was delivered if it was “sent via registered, certified, or electronic mail.” This presumption establishes that the document is timely filed so long as it is actually delivered to the IRS (even after the deadline) and it was postmarked on or before the deadline.

First class mail does not enjoy this presumption. Mr. Pond alleged that he mailed requests for refund related to his 2012 and 2013 tax returns in the same envelope. The IRS issued him a refund for 2012, but not for 2013. Because Mr. Pond did not mail his requests for refund by certified mail, he was not entitled to a presumption that the claims were timely filed.

Mr. Pond may be able to establish by other evidence that the requests for refund were timely and properly sent by first class mail, but he bears the burden of establishing such facts. The Fourth Circuit did not rule out this possibility. It only ruled that he was not entitled to a presumption that he timely filed his refund claims.

The lesson for taxpayers is that it is worth the extra few dollars to send correspondence to the IRS by certified mail. Doing so will save thousands of dollars in legal fees to establish timely filing in the future.

Professional Services Disclaimer: Please note that the information presented here is as an educational service, and while it contains information about legal issues, it is not legal advice. No warranty is made regarding the applicability of the information presented to a particular client situation, and the information set forth is not a substitute for original legal research, analysis and drafting for a particular client situation.