Tax season is upon us! For those of you sending off sensitive documents, it’s important that you get them to the IRS the proper way with a trackable service that will allow you to keep an eye on them during transit. While you can technically send tax documents via a USPS shipping service like Priority Mail, the most appropriate way to get them to the IRS is via Certified Mail.
Table of Contents
- The IRS Prefers You Send Tax Documents via Certified Mail and Not Ship Them
- How Do I Track Certified Mail?
- What About Sending Passports or Other Government Documents?
The IRS Prefers You Send Tax Documents via Certified Mail and Not Ship Them
For all intents and purposes, USPS Certified Mail is similar to First Class Mail. However, the main difference is that when you purchase Certified Mail, USPS assigns your letter a tracking number. This way, you can track the letter the same way you can track a package on the USPS website! Since these letters come fully tracked, the IRS relies on Certified Mail for receiving tax documents and payments.
Now, the IRS won’t refuse any envelopes containing tax documents that you ship to them via another service like a Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelope. However, it’s important to keep in mind that all of the IRS collection points are PO Boxes at Post Offices. If they receive an influx of larger envelopes and poly mailers, those PO Boxes tend to fill up pretty fast. That makes sense, right?
How Do I Track Certified Mail?
Tracking Certified Mail is no different from tracking a regular package with USPS; all you need to do is type in your tracking number into the USPS tracking portal and you’ll be able to follow along with it and see when it’s delivered. When you purchase the service, USPS hands you a tracking number on your receipt that they either hand to you, send to you via email, or—if you ask for it—both!
Keep in mind that to purchase Certified Mail service, you’ll need to visit your local Post Office.
What About Sending Passports or Other Government Documents?
Other government documents like passports are a different story. Generally, you want to opt for the quickest and most secure shipping service when sending or receiving a passport. For USPS, this is Priority Mail Express Service, which features overnight delivery (in most cases) and a full money-back guarantee.
If you’re really in a bind and can spare the extra cash, FedEx overnight service is an even better option. This is often what private passport and visa expeditors suggest when you need a passport processed and issued back to you quickly.