After e-file’s growing popularity, the IRS has been receiving fewer and fewer paper tax filings. But, many people still opt for paper filings – out of concern for personal tax and financial data security, or to avoid extra fees associated with most e-payment methods.
Regardless, if you’re one of the 8.3 million Americans filing their returns on paper, you probably have a few questions about mailing in your taxes this season. Here are a few printing tips and other considerations you should keep in mind before sending in your taxes:
Print Double-Sided Forms with Caution
As more and more Americans are becoming environmentally-conscious, many taxpayers want to know if they can print two-sided IRS forms to save paper. It’s actually generally preferred that both sides of the paper are used for substitutes and reproduced forms, since this results in the same page arrangement as that of official forms.
While each form can be double-sided, different forms cannot share the same page – so for example, each page of a Form 1040 can be double-sided. But part of the Form 1040 cannot share a page with a Form 7004. Additionally, certain tax preparation software services are not set up to print each form separately if you use two-sided mode, so it’s important to double-check all your forms when using two-sided printing.
The IRS will also accept forms if only one side of the paper is used. So, if you’re unsure where each form belongs, it’s best to just print single-sided pages. Many people also prefer printing single-sided to make sure they don’t accidentally skip a page.
Cover Your Bases with Registered/Certified Mail or Private Delivery Services
If you’re sending in your taxes by regular mail, you can’t ever be sure if it was received by the IRS. Consider using registered or certified mail to file your tax returns, allowing you to easily trace your mail. The IRS also considers registered mail the best evidence to show your return was filed by the correct date, so it’s a good way to cover your bases.
You can also use private delivery services designated by the IRS to mail and file your taxes in a timely manner. If necessary, you can contact the private delivery service to get written proof of the mailing date, or you can track delivery online. If you opt for a private delivery service, make sure they are IRS-approved, which include the following:
- UPS Next Day Air
- UPS Next Day Air Saver
- UPS 2nd Day Air
- UPS 2nd Day Air A.M.
- UPS Worldwide Express Plus
- UPS Worldwide Express
- DHL Express
- DHL Same Day Service
- Priority Overnight
- Standard Overnight
- FedEx 2Day
- FedEx International Priority
- FedEx International First
Private delivery services cannot delivery items to P.O. boxes, so if you only have an IRS P.O. box for delivery, you must use the U.S. Postal Service.
When it comes to filing your taxes, there is no shortage of areas where you can easily make a careless mistake. So before mailing in your taxes, double-check everything – from your printed, filled out forms to the proper postage on the envelope:
- Preview before You Print – Make sure you click “print preview” on your browser to confirm your pages are properly formatted before sending them to the printer. This will help you avoid wasting ink and paper, while also giving you another chance to double-check that everything is filled out accurately.
- Make Sure You’re Mailing to the Right Place – This year, the IRS changed several locations to mail your taxes, so make sure you’re sending them to the correct location.
- Write Your Labels Clearly – Print labels on your computer, or neatly write out both the destination and return addresses on your envelope.
- Use Enough Postage – Double-check your envelope to see if it weighs more than one ounce. If it does, you’ll need extra stamps and postage. Tax returns without enough postage will be returned to the sender and may not make it to the IRS in time.
Tax season is stressful, but by staying organized, you can make things much easier on yourself. And with the right printer and printing habits, your paper filings will be completed affordably, and in almost no time.
For more print-related questions, find a Cartridge World store near you, and talk to one of our friendly and unbiased local experts.