Back in blogging action after another season of preparing hand-crafted tax returns, Robert D Flach thinks I am encouraging taxpayers to squander their money by telling them to get a return receipt when they file using certified mail:
But the extra you spend to get a return receipt is a total waste of money. It means absolutely nothing – only that the IRS received an envelope from you that was postmarked on April 18th. It doesn't hurt to do this (except your wallet) - but it really doesn't help either.
But showing that the taxing agency did receive an envelope from the taxpayer shows that the taxpayer sent them an envelope. A client made a filing with a state. The state sent him a notice much later saying that not only was the return late, but that he had never filed one. Unfortunately, he did not ask for the return receipt. He has the postmarked certified mail stub, but now he has to battle with the state over whether the postmarked envelope was even sent to them. The time spent on that already would have paid for the return receipt many times over.
UPDATE, 4/22: Russ Fox has more examples of the usefulness of certified mail.
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