Where Should I Mail My Taxes?

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We're in the home stretch for tax season, with just a few more days before you need to have filed your return or gotten an extension. The vast majority of taxpayers have switched from filing a paper return to using electronic filing, which obviously simplifies the issue of getting your return to the IRS.

However, there are still millions of taxpayers who file paper returns, and for them, getting their return to the right place is important. The IRS makes this a bit more complicated than it arguably needs to be. With different locations serving different parts of the country, it's important to find the right address to ensure that your return gets processed correctly and in the most efficient manner possible.

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The two things that matter for mailing your return

If you want to know where to mail your return, then you'll need to know these two things:

  • What state you live in.
  • Whether you'll be enclosing a tax payment with your return.

Things got simpler in 2018 because everyone will be using Form 1040. In the past, when there were alternative forms, there were a lot more combinations of addresses that ended up getting used.

If you don't owe any taxes

Those who won't enclose payments should send their returns in a mailing marked "Department of the Treasury" on the first line and "Internal Revenue Service" on the second line. The city, state, and zip code varies depending on where you live.

If you do owe taxes

If you do expect to enclose a payment with your return, then you'll need to send your Form 1040 to the following address. Here, you can leave out "Department of the Treasury" and just go with "Internal Revenue Service," but you'll also have to include a P.O. box along with the city, state, and zip code.

Some other things to keep in mind

Last but definitely not least, one mistake many people make with their tax returns is not putting on enough postage. Between all the pages and attachments you have to put on your return, you shouldn't assume that a single postage stamp will get the job done. It's often worth the trip to a post office to get the definitive answer on how much you'll need to pay to get your return to the IRS in a timely manner.

Given the extra hoops you have to jump through, the rise in electronic filing comes as no big shock. But if you prefer paper returns, you should be able to use the information above to get your return where it needs to go.

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