“I know I filed it, but the IRS tells me they never received it.”
Tax returns – lost. Collection appeals – misplaced. Innocent spouse claims – never processed.
The reality is that the IRS does lose incoming mail. It is the exception, not the rule, but it happens.
And when it happens, it can be difficult to convince the IRS they are at fault without compelling evidence of filing.
The very best, indisputable way to file with the IRS:
Hand-file it. Take your return, or your appeal or request, and drive it over to an IRS walk-in center. Bring a copy with you. When you file the original, ask the IRS to date stamp the copy as received.
I almost always recommend this for a series of unfiled returns. Avoid mailing all the returns in the same envelope. Putting each one in a separate envelope can result in 4 out of 5 being processed. You need 5 out of 5.
Lately, I have been hand-filing collection due process appeals by hand as well. I have been challenged on more than one occasion by an IRS Revenue Officer or Appeals Officer as to the timeliness of an appeal. Undisputed proof – a copy with an IRS date stamp – puts an end to these issues.
If you file with a post office proof of mailing certificate, be prepared: On occasion, the IRS may question what was in the envelope. Sometimes, I have seen the IRS take the unreasonable position that your mailing reciept only proves you mailed something to the IRS, not what you mailed.
When it is your word against the IRS records, you lose. If it is important, hand-file it.