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By: Rebecca K. Wohltman

Where a taxpayer mailed an amended return (to claim a refund) but the Illinois Department of Revenue (“IDOR”) did not have evidence of the envelope containing the amended return, IDOR argued that the taxpayer could not prove that the amended return was mailed on time. The Illinois Tax Tribunal said this position taken by IDOR would result in an “absurd” result.

In Mitutoyo America Corporation v. IDOR, 21-TT-133, the taxpayer’s in-house tax specialist signed an affidavit stating she placed the amended return in the mail on October 15, 2020. The due date for mailing the amended return was October 16, 2020.

The affidavit filed by the taxpayer walked through taxpayer’s tax specialist’s process of placing postage on the return and placing the return in the mailbox. While the tax specialist would normally have hand-delivered the envelope to the post office, because of the high level of COVID cases at that time, she did not go into the post office.

IDOR argued that since it did not have the actual envelope in its file, the taxpayer could not prove the date the amended return was actually mailed. At the Tax Tribunal properly pointed out, if IDOR was correct, IDOR could discard every envelope it received and leave taxpayers without evidence of mailing. IDOR’s interpretation essentially removed a portion of the applicable statute, which is not proper.

IDOR stamped the amended tax return as received in its office on October 21, 2020, which is a reasonable delivery date assuming a mailing date of October 15, 2020.

The Tax Tribunal found the affidavit presented by the taxpayer’s tax specialist to be sufficient evidence that the amended return was timely filed and granted summary judgment in favor of the taxpayer. The Tax Tribunal did not find IDOR’s argument about a lack of envelope to be at all persuasive.

Of course, if a taxpayer is mailing a return (or any other document) to IDOR, the document should be sent by certified mail so the taxpayer has proof of the date of mailing and proof that IDOR received the mailing. Spend the couple of extra dollars to give yourself this assurance and comfort that the question of whether a document was timely filed will not be an issue.

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.