Small Business Taxes & Management

Private Delivery Services

Small Business Taxes & ManagementTM--Copyright 1999-2016, A/N Group, Inc.


In most cases the IRS considers 'timely mailing as timely filing'. That is, if the tax return, payment, election, etc. is mailed on or before the due date, the Service considers it filed on time, regardless of when it arrives. Prior to 1997, this rule only applied to the U.S. Postal Service. Thus, if you mailed your return by a private delivery service, the IRS considered it filed on time only if it arrived on time. Now, certain private delivery services are afforded the same status as the post office. The delivery services and the type of service are:

The list of designated PDSs effective April 11, 2016 is as follows:

DHL Express

Federal Express (FedEx)

United Parcel Service (UPS)

FedEx and UPS are not designated with respect to any type of delivery service not identified above. Thus, for UPS regular ground service doesn't qualify.


Only the enumerated services for each carrier qualifies for this special rule. Other services provided by these carriers are not covered.

You may still want to use the postal service. The rules for substantiating the "postmark" on private delivery services varies. Don't forget, it's not just the mailing but proving the date of mailing that counts. Check with the delivery service on their policy for the various types of delivery. Obtaining a proof of mailing from the U.S. Postal Service may be more convenient.

The rules for states vary. Check the individual state. For example, at least one state accepts delivery by the above carriers, but to a different address than if you're sending the return or other item by U.S. Postal Service. And, as of this writing, one state has not accepted the updated list.


Copyright 1999-2016 by A/N Group, Inc. This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is distributed with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The information is not necessarily a complete summary of all materials on the subject.--ISSN 1089-1536

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--Last update 05/05/16