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April 12, 2008

An entrepreneur's tax return isn't necessarily cheap.  One relatively prominent entrepreneurial couple filed a 2005 tax return with three schedule Cs and K-1s from a bunch of partnerships.  Their return fee was a cool $16,535.

Maybe you spent hundreds of dollars to have a preparer do your business return. Or maybe you spent the 30.3 hours the 1040 instructions say is the average estimated time it takes to do your own return. Either way, your tax return represents a substantial investment in time and/or money.

Now isn't the time to cheap out. Unless you are filing electronically, you ought to spring for the extra $4.80 to file your return "certified mail, return receipt requested."

It's well worth the time and trouble of going to the post office to get that postmarked receipt. The tax law is full of sad stories of taxpayers who lost thousands of dollars because they didn't have a postmark to document that they filed on time. Don't let it happen to you!

If there's no post office open or handy, you can also use a mailing receipt from one of the designated private delivery services authorized by IRS for timely return shipment. As they don't use P.O. boxes, you'll want to refer to Russ Fox's handy list of service center street addresses.

And don't procrastinate, because Jiffy Express isn't a designated private delivery service.


This is the fourth-to-last installment of our series of 2008 filing season tips.
(Cross-posted from

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