Skip to Content

Rule

Timely Mailing Treated as Timely Filing/Electronic Postmark

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Treasury.

ACTION:

Final regulations; and removal of temporary regulations.

SUMMARY:

This document contains regulations relating to timely mailing treated as timely filing and paying under section 7502 of the Internal Revenue Code. The regulations generally reflect changes to the law made since 1960. In addition, the regulations provide that the date of an electronic postmark will be the filing date under certain circumstances. The regulations affect taxpayers who file documents or make payments or deposits.

DATES:

Effective Date: These regulations are effective January 11, 2001.

Applicability Date: For dates of applicability, see §§ 301.7502-1(g) and 301.7502-2(e).

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Charles A. Hall, (202) 622-4940 (not a toll-free number).

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

This document contains amendments to the Regulations on Procedure and Administration (26 CFR part 301) under section 7502 relating to timely mailing treated as timely filing and paying. A notice of proposed rulemaking (REG-115433-98) was published in the Federal Register (64 FR 2606) on January 15, 1999. Temporary regulations (TD 8807) relating to electronic postmarks for electronically filed income tax returns were published in the Federal Register for the same day (64 FR 2568). No public hearing was requested or held. No comments were received from the public in response to the notice of proposed rulemaking. The proposed regulations under section Start Printed Page 22587502 are adopted as revised by this Treasury decision and the corresponding temporary regulations are removed. The revisions are discussed below.

Explanation of Revisions

In the notice of proposed rulemaking, the IRS and the Treasury Department requested comments regarding whether section 7502 should apply to claims for credit or refund made on late filed original income tax returns. No comments were received on this issue. However, the IRS and the Treasury Department have determined that, in certain situations, a claim for credit or refund made on a late filed original income tax return should be treated under section 7502 as timely filed on the postmark date for purposes of section 6511(b)(2)(A). This is consistent with the opinion of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Weisbart v. United States Department of Treasury and Internal Revenue Service, 222 F.3d 93 (2d Cir. 2000), rev'g 99-1 USTC (CCH) ¶ 50,549 (E.D.N.Y. 1999), AOD-CC-2000-09 (Nov. 13, 2000).

The IRS and the Treasury Department have further determined that claims for credit or refund made on late filed original tax returns other than income tax returns should also be treated under section 7502 as timely filed on the postmark date for purposes of section 6511(b)(2)(A). This would include returns such as Form 720, Quarterly Federal Excise Tax Return, and Form 706, U.S. Estate Tax Return. Moreover, the IRS and the Treasury Department have determined that the late filed original tax return, as well as the claim for credit or refund, should also be treated as filed on the postmark date. These changes, which are reflected in § 301.7502-1(f), will assist taxpayers in filing timely claims for credit or refund, and will be applied retroactively to certain previously disallowed claims for credit or refund.

These changes are effective for any claim for credit or refund on a late filed tax return described in § 301.7502-1(f)(1) except for those claims for credit or refund which (without regard to paragraph (f) of this section) were barred by the operation of section 6532(a) or any other law or rule of law (including res judicata) as of January 11, 2001. See § 301.7502-1(g)(2), which provides the effective date rules for § 301.7502-1(f).

Consistent with the effective date rules for § 301.7502-1(f), the IRS will attempt to identify as many claims as possible that were filed on untimely original individual income tax returns and that were previously disallowed based on the Government's position in Weisbart. In these cases, the IRS intends to issue a refund, or credit the overpayment against a liability as provided in section 6402, without the need for the taxpayer to contact the IRS. Such automatic reconsideration of the claim will generally occur if the claim was filed on an individual income tax return for 1995 or a subsequent calendar year. Claims filed on other types of original returns will not receive automatic reconsideration under this program, e.g., individual returns for years prior to 1995.

Because the IRS will be undertaking the automatic reconsideration program described above and intends to complete the program by June 30, 2001, taxpayers who have filed income tax refund claims for tax year 1995 and later years that qualify under § 301.7502-1(f) need not contact the IRS regarding their claims unless the two-year period for filing a refund suit under section 6532(a) for their denied claim will expire prior to June 30, 2001. In such cases, taxpayers are advised to file a request for reconsideration with the appropriate IRS Service Center. Such a request should include a notation on the top of the first page that it is a “Weisbart Claim.” Such taxpayers are also advised to file a refund suit to protect their legal rights with respect to the claim. The IRS will respond to the requests for reconsideration after the IRS has finished identifying eligible claims under the automatic reconsideration program and paying those refunds. Taxpayers whose two-year period for filing a refund suit under section 6532(a) does not expire until after June 30, 2001, and who have not received a refund by that date, are advised to file a request for reconsideration with the appropriate IRS Service Center at that time.

Special Analyses

It has been determined that this Treasury decision is not a significant regulatory action as defined in Executive Order 12866. Therefore, a regulatory assessment is not required. It also has been determined that section 553(b) of the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. chapter 5) does not apply to these regulations, and because these regulations do not impose a collection of information on small entities, the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. chapter 6) does not apply. Pursuant to section 7805(f) of the Internal Revenue Code, the notice of proposed rulemaking preceding these regulations was submitted to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration for comment on its impact on small business.

Drafting Information

The principal author of these regulations is Charles A. Hall of the Office of Associate Chief Counsel, Procedure and Administration (Administrative Provisions and Judicial Practice Division). However, other personnel from the IRS and Treasury Department participated in their development.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 26 CFR Part 301

End List of Subjects

Adoption of Amendments to the Regulations

Start Amendment Part

Accordingly,

End Amendment Part Start Part

PART 301—PROCEDURE AND ADMINISTRATION

End Part Start Amendment Part

End Amendment Part Start Authority

Authority: 26 U.S.C. 7805 * * *

End Authority

Section 301.7502-1 also issued under 26 U.S.C. 7502.

Section 301.7502-2 also issued under 26 U.S.C. 7502.

* * * * *
Start Amendment Part

End Amendment Part
Timely mailing of documents and payments treated as timely filing and paying.

(a) General rule. Section 7502 provides that, if the requirements of that section are met, a document or payment is deemed to be filed or paid on the date of the postmark stamped on the envelope or other appropriate wrapper (envelope) in which the document or payment was mailed. Thus, if the envelope that contains the document or payment has a timely postmark, the document or payment is considered timely filed or paid even if it is received after the last date, or the last day of the period, prescribed for filing the document or making the payment. Section 7502 does not apply in determining whether a failure to file a return or pay a tax has continued for an additional month or fraction thereof for purposes of computing the penalties and additions to tax imposed by section 6651. Except as provided in section 7502(e) and § 301.7502-2, relating to the timely mailing of deposits, and paragraph (d) of this section, relating to Start Printed Page 2259electronically filed documents, section 7502 is applicable only to those documents or payments as defined in paragraph (b) of this section and only if the document or payment is mailed in accordance with paragraph (c) of this section and is delivered in accordance with paragraph (e) of this section.

(b) Definitions—(1) Document defined. (i) The term document, as used in this section, means any return, claim, statement, or other document required to be filed within a prescribed period or on or before a prescribed date under authority of any provision of the internal revenue laws, except as provided in paragraph (b)(1)(ii), (iii), or (iv) of this section.

(ii) The term does not include returns, claims, statements, or other documents that are required under any provision of the internal revenue laws or the regulations thereunder to be delivered by any method other than mailing.

(iii) The term does not include any document filed in any court other than the Tax Court, but the term does include any document filed with the Tax Court, including a petition and a notice of appeal of a decision of the Tax Court.

(iv) The term does not include any document that is mailed to an authorized financial institution under section 6302. However, see § 301.7502-2 for special rules relating to the timeliness of deposits and documents required to be filed with deposits.

(2) Claims for refund. In the case of certain taxes, a return may constitute a claim for credit or refund. In such a case, section 7502 is applicable to the claim for credit or refund if the conditions of such section are met, irrespective of whether the claim is also a return. For rules regarding claims for refund on late filed tax returns, see paragraph (f) of this section.

(3) Payment defined. (i) The term payment, as used in this section, means any payment required to be made within a prescribed period or on or before a prescribed date under the authority of any provision of the internal revenue laws, except as provided in paragraph (b)(3)(ii), (iii), (iv), or (v) of this section.

(ii) The term does not include any payment that is required under any provision of the internal revenue laws or the regulations thereunder to be delivered by any method other than mailing. See, for example, section 6302(h) and the regulations thereunder regarding electronic funds transfer.

(iii) The term does not include any payment, whether it is made in the form of currency or other medium of payment, unless it is actually received and accounted for. For example, if a check is used as the form of payment, this section does not apply unless the check is honored upon presentation.

(iv) The term does not include any payment to any court other than the Tax Court.

(v) The term does not include any deposit that is required to be made with an authorized financial institution under section 6302. However, see § 301.7502-2 for rules relating to the timeliness of deposits.

(4) Last date or last day prescribed. As used in this section, the term the last date, or the last day of the period, prescribed for filing the document or making the payment includes any extension of time granted for that action. When the last date, or the last day of the period, prescribed for filing the document or making the payment falls on a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday, section 7503 applies. Therefore, in applying the rules of this paragraph (b)(4), the next succeeding day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday is treated as the last date, or the last day of the period, prescribed for filing the document or making the payment. Also, when the last date, or the last day of the period, prescribed for filing the document or making the payment falls within a period disregarded under section 7508 or section 7508A, the next succeeding day after the expiration of the section 7508 period or section 7508A period that is not a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday is treated as the last date, or the last day of the period, prescribed for filing the document or making the payment.

(c) Mailing requirements—(1) In general. Section 7502 does not apply unless the document or payment is mailed in accordance with the following requirements:

(i) Envelope and address. The document or payment must be contained in an envelope, properly addressed to the agency, officer, or office with which the document is required to be filed or to which the payment is required to be made.

(ii) Timely deposited in U.S. mail. The document or payment must be deposited within the prescribed time in the mail in the United States with sufficient postage prepaid. For this purpose, a document or payment is deposited in the mail in the United States when it is deposited with the domestic mail service of the U.S. Postal Service. The domestic mail service of the U.S. Postal Service, as defined by the Domestic Mail Manual as incorporated by reference in the postal regulations, includes mail transmitted within, among, and between the United States of America, its territories and possessions, and Army post offices (APO), fleet post offices (FPO), and the United Nations, NY. (See Domestic Mail Manual, section G011.2.1, as incorporated by reference in 39 CFR 111.1.) Section 7502 does not apply to any document or payment that is deposited with the mail service of any other country.

(iii) Postmark—(A) U.S. Postal Service postmark. If the postmark on the envelope is made by the U.S. Postal Service, the postmark must bear a date on or before the last date, or the last day of the period, prescribed for filing the document or making the payment. If the postmark does not bear a date on or before the last date, or the last day of the period, prescribed for filing the document or making the payment, the document or payment is considered not to be timely filed or paid, regardless of when the document or payment is deposited in the mail. Accordingly, the sender who relies upon the applicability of section 7502 assumes the risk that the postmark will bear a date on or before the last date, or the last day of the period, prescribed for filing the document or making the payment. See, however, paragraph (c)(2) of this section with respect to the use of registered mail or certified mail to avoid this risk. If the postmark on the envelope is made by the U.S. Postal Service but is not legible, the person who is required to file the document or make the payment has the burden of proving the date that the postmark was made. Furthermore, if the envelope that contains a document or payment has a timely postmark made by the U.S. Postal Service, but it is received after the time when a document or payment postmarked and mailed at that time would ordinarily be received, the sender may be required to prove that it was timely mailed.

(B) Postmark made by other than U.S. Postal Service—(1) In general. If the postmark on the envelope is made other than by the U.S. Postal Service—

(i) The postmark so made must bear a legible date on or before the last date, or the last day of the period, prescribed for filing the document or making the payment; and

(ii) The document or payment must be received by the agency, officer, or office with which it is required to be filed not later than the time when a document or payment contained in an envelope that is properly addressed, mailed, and sent by the same class of mail would ordinarily be received if it were postmarked at the same point of origin by the U.S. Postal Service on the last date, or the last day of the period, prescribed for filing the document or making the payment. Start Printed Page 2260

(2) Document or payment received late. If a document or payment described in paragraph (c)(1)(iii)(B)(1) is received after the time when a document or payment so mailed and so postmarked by the U.S. Postal Service would ordinarily be received, the document or payment is treated as having been received at the time when a document or payment so mailed and so postmarked would ordinarily be received if the person who is required to file the document or make the payment establishes—

(i) That it was actually deposited in the U.S. mail before the last collection of mail from the place of deposit that was postmarked (except for the metered mail) by the U.S. Postal Service on or before the last date, or the last day of the period, prescribed for filing the document or making the payment;

(ii) That the delay in receiving the document or payment was due to a delay in the transmission of the U.S. mail; and

(iii) The cause of the delay.

(3) U.S. and non-U.S. postmarks. If the envelope has a postmark made by the U.S. Postal Service in addition to a postmark not so made, the postmark that was not made by the U.S. Postal Service is disregarded, and whether the envelope was mailed in accordance with this paragraph (c)(1)(iii)(B) will be determined solely by applying the rule of paragraph (c)(1)(iii)(A) of this section.

(2) Registered or certified mail. If the document or payment is sent by U.S. registered mail, the date of registration of the document or payment is treated as the postmark date. If the document or payment is sent by U.S. certified mail and the sender's receipt is postmarked by the postal employee to whom the document or payment is presented, the date of the U.S. postmark on the receipt is treated as the postmark date of the document or payment. Accordingly, the risk that the document or payment will not be postmarked on the day that it is deposited in the mail may be eliminated by the use of registered or certified mail.

(d) Electronically filed documents—(1) In general. A document filed electronically with an electronic return transmitter (as defined in paragraph (d)(3)(i) of this section and authorized pursuant to paragraph (d)(2) of this section) in the manner and time prescribed by the Commissioner is deemed to be filed on the date of the electronic postmark (as defined in paragraph (d)(3)(ii) of this section) given by the authorized electronic return transmitter. Thus, if the electronic postmark is timely, the document is considered filed timely although it is received by the agency, officer, or office after the last date, or the last day of the period, prescribed for filing such document.

(2) Authorized electronic return transmitters. The Commissioner may enter into an agreement with an electronic return transmitter or prescribe in forms, instructions, or other appropriate guidance the procedures under which the electronic return transmitter is authorized to provide taxpayers with an electronic postmark to acknowledge the date and time that the electronic return transmitter received the electronically filed document.

(3) Definitions—(i) Electronic return transmitter. For purposes of this paragraph (d), the term electronic return transmitter has the same meaning as contained in section 3.01(4) of Rev. Proc. 2000-31 (2000-31 I.R.B. 146 (July 31, 2000))(see § 601.601(d)(2) of this chapter) or in procedures prescribed by the Commissioner.

(ii) Electronic postmark. For purposes of this paragraph (d), the term electronic postmark means a record of the date and time (in a particular time zone) that an authorized electronic return transmitter receives the transmission of a taxpayer's electronically filed document on its host system. However, if the taxpayer and the electronic return transmitter are located in different time zones, it is the taxpayer's time zone that controls the timeliness of the electronically filed document.

(e) Delivery—(1) Except as provided in section 7502(f) and paragraph (d) of this section, section 7502 is not applicable unless the document or payment is delivered by U.S. mail to the agency, officer, or office with which the document is required to be filed or to which payment is required to be made. However, in the case of a document (but not a payment) sent by registered or certified mail, proof that the document was properly registered or that a postmarked certified mail sender's receipt was properly issued and that the envelope was properly addressed to the agency, officer, or office constitutes prima facie evidence that the document was delivered to the agency, officer, or office.

(2) Section 7502 is applicable to the determination of whether a claim for credit or refund is timely filed for purposes of section 6511(a), assuming all the requirements of section 7502 are satisfied. Section 7502 is also applicable when a claim for credit or refund is delivered after the last day of the period specified in section 6511(b)(2)(A) or in any other corresponding provision of law relating to the limit on the amount of credit or refund that is allowable.

(3) Example. The rules of paragraph (e)(2) of this section are illustrated by the following example:

Example.

(i) Taxpayer A, an individual, mailed his 1998 Form 1040, “U.S. Individual Income Tax Return,” on May 10, 1999, but no tax was paid at that time because the tax liability disclosed by the return had been completely satisfied by the income tax that had been withheld on A's wages. On April 15, 2002, A mails in accordance with the requirements of this section, a Form 1040X, “U.S. Amended Individual Income Tax Return,” claiming a refund of a portion of the tax that had been paid through withholding during 1998. The date of the postmark on the envelope containing the claim for refund is April 15, 2002. The claim is received by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on April 18, 2002.

(ii) Under section 6511(a), A's claim for refund is timely if filed within three years from May 10, 1999, the date on which A's 1998 return was filed. However, as a result of the limitations of section 6511(b)(2)(A), if his claim is not filed within three years after April 15, 1999, the date on which he is deemed under section 6513 to have paid his 1998 tax, he is not entitled to any refund. Thus, because A's claim for refund is postmarked and mailed in accordance with the requirements of this section and is delivered after the last day of the period specified in section 6511(b)(2)(A), section 7502 is applicable and the claim is deemed to have been filed on April 15, 2002.

(f) Claim for credit or refund on late filed tax return—(1) In general. Generally, an original income tax return may constitute a claim for credit or refund of income tax. See § 301.6402-3(a)(5). Other original tax returns can also be considered claims for credit or refund if the liability disclosed on the return is less than the amount of tax that has been paid. If section 7502 would not apply to a return (but for the operation of paragraph (f)(2) of this section) that is also considered a claim for credit or refund because the envelope that contains the return does not have a postmark dated on or before the due date of the return, section 7502 will apply separately to the claim for credit or refund if—

(i) The date of the postmark on the envelope is within the period that is three years (plus the period of any extension of time to file) from the day the tax is paid or considered paid (see section 6513), and the claim for credit or refund is delivered after this three-year period; and

(ii) The conditions of section 7502 are otherwise met.

(2) Filing date of late filed return. If the conditions of paragraph (f)(1) of this section are met, the late filed return will be deemed filed on the postmark date.

(3) Example. The rules of this paragraph (f) are illustrated by the following example:

Start Printed Page 2261

Example.

(i) Taxpayer A, an individual, mailed his 2001 Form 1040, “U.S. Individual Income Tax Return,” on April 15, 2005, claiming a refund of amounts paid through withholding during 2001. The date of the postmark on the envelope containing the return and claim for refund is April 15, 2005. The return and claim for refund are received by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on April 18, 2005. Amounts withheld in 2001 exceeded A's tax liability for 2001 and are treated as paid on April 15, 2002, pursuant to section 6513.

(ii) Even though the date of the postmark on the envelope is after the due date of the return, the claim for refund and the late filed return are treated as filed on the postmark date for purposes of this paragraph (f). Accordingly, the return will be treated as filed on April 15, 2005. In addition, the claim for refund will be treated as timely filed on April 15, 2005. Further, the entire amount of the refund attributable to withholding is allowable as a refund under section 6511(b)(2)(A).

(g) Effective date—(1) In general. Except as provided in paragraphs (g)(2) and (3) of this section, the rules of this section apply to any payment or document mailed and delivered in accordance with the requirements of this section in an envelope bearing a postmark dated after January 11, 2001.

(2) Claim for credit or refund on late filed tax return. Paragraph (f) of this section applies to any claim for credit or refund on a late filed tax return described in paragraph (f)(1) of this section except for those claims for credit or refund which (without regard to paragraph (f) of this section) were barred by the operation of section 6532(a) or any other law or rule of law (including res judicata) as of January 11, 2001.

(3) Electronically filed documents. This section applies to any electronically filed return, claim, statement, or other document transmitted to an electronic return transmitter that is authorized to provide an electronic postmark pursuant to paragraph (d)(2) of this section after January 11, 2001.

Start Amendment Part

End Amendment Part Start Amendment Part

End Amendment Part
Timely mailing of deposits.

(a) General rule—(1) Two day rule. Section 7502(e) provides that, if the requirements of that section are met, a deposit is deemed to be received on the date the deposit was mailed even though it is received after the date prescribed for making the deposit. The requirements of the section are met if the person required to make the deposit establishes that the date of mailing was on or before the second day preceding the date prescribed for making the deposit. If the date of mailing was not established to be on or before the second day preceding the date prescribed for making the deposit, the deposit will not be considered timely received unless it is actually received on or before the date prescribed for making the deposit. Section 7502(e) only applies to a deposit mailed to the financial institution authorized to receive that deposit. Thus, section 7502(e) does not apply to any remittance mailed to an internal revenue service center.

(2) Deposits of $20,000 or more. Paragraph (a)(1) of this section does not apply with respect to any deposit of $20,000 or more by any person required to deposit any tax more than once a month. Any such deposit must be made by the due date for such deposit, regardless of the method of delivery.

(b) Deposit defined. The term deposit, as used in this section, means any deposit of tax required to be made on or before a prescribed date at an authorized financial institution pursuant to regulations prescribed under section 6302.

(c) Mailing requirements—(1) In general. Section 7502(e) does not apply unless the deposit is mailed in accordance with the requirements of paragraph (c)(2) of this section.

(2) Requirements. The date of mailing must fall on or before the second day preceding the prescribed date for making a deposit (including any extension of time granted for making the deposit). For example, if a deposit is due on or before January 15, the date of mailing must fall on or before January 13. The deposit must be contained in an envelope or other appropriate wrapper approved for use in the mails by the U.S. Postal Service, properly addressed to the financial institution authorized to receive the deposit. The deposit must be deposited with sufficient postage prepaid in the mail in the United States within the meaning of § 301.7502-1 on or before the second day preceding the prescribed date for making a deposit.

(3) Registered and certified mail. The provisions of § 301.7502-1(c)(2) apply to a deposit sent by U.S. registered mail or U.S. certified mail as if the deposit were a payment, except that the date of registration or the date of the postmark on the sender's receipt is considered the date of mailing of such deposit.

(d) Delivery. Section 7502(e) does not apply unless a deposit is actually delivered by U.S. mail to the authorized financial institution with which the deposit is required to be made and is accepted by that financial institution. For rules relating to the acceptance of deposits by authorized financial institutions see 31 CFR 203.18. The fact that a deposit is sent by U.S. registered or U.S. certified mail does not constitute prima facie evidence that the deposit was delivered to the financial institution authorized to receive the deposit. Section 7502(e) does not apply unless the deposit is delivered after the date prescribed for making the deposit.

(e) Effective date. This section applies to all deposits required to be made after January 11, 2001.

Start Signature

Robert E. Wenzel,

Deputy Commissioner of Internal Revenue.

Approved: December 21, 2000.

Jonathan Talisman,

Acting Assistant Secretary of the Treasury.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 01-130 Filed 1-10-01; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4830-01-U