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Ask Bob

Bob Answer's Frequently Asked Questions

“Bob, what is the best way to file this year (2021) for 2020? Electronic? Mail? Walk it in?”

The best way is electronic.  That way, you get proof of filing within hours or a day or two.  Mailing your return is acceptable, but these days, the mail is slower (due to Covid at least), and you have no proof you sent the return in.  The burden of proof is on you to prove filing.  If you have to mail the paper copy, do with tracking, such as USPS certified mail, return receipt, or similar from private delivery services.  You cannot yet walk your return into the IRS as all of the IRs offices that accept such returns re currently still closed.

Bob, I sent IRS a check for my taxes way back in July, 2020, and they still have not cashed it. What
should I do?”

Sit tight, at least for now. Covid-19 basically closed down the entire agency for a long time.
Even now, many offices remain closed. That includes parts or all of the “campuses,” the 18 regional
service centers where you sent your checks. So right now, the IRS is only getting around to opening the
mail and slowly, Covid-safely. Moreover, the Taxpayer Advocate, normally the go-to people for red tape
and snafus, says they can’t help either.

  1. Be sure you have enough money in the bank to cover the check, when IRS does in fact cash it.

  2. Consider paying electronically next time; it’s fairly easy for most types of payments. has
    a payment portal, “Make a Payment” on the homepage.

  3. If you MUST send a paper check, consider using a tracking method, such as certified mail with
    return receipt. Note that some private delivery services won’t deliver to a post office box (which
    IRS often uses). USPS will deliver to these PO boxes.

  4. IRS has said it will give you credit for the check as of the postmark date (the date you mailed it),
    not the date they actually get it, nor the date they actually open the envelope and deposit the

And, finally….wait…wait….wait.

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