How To Mail Your Taxes to the IRS

Where To Send Returns, Payments, and Extensions

Image of a man mailing his tax forms. Text reads A Guide to Mailing Tax Documents to the IRS: The IRS strongly recommends e-filing if possible. Physical copies must be postmarked by the tax due date. Visit "Where to File" on the IRS website to see your state’s mailing address for tax returns. Note: The mailing address will be dependent on whether you’re sending money or not. Mailing addresses will be different for other tax documents, so read the IRS website carefully. If you live outside the U.S., use a private delivery service to mail your documents
Photo:

The Balance / Lara Antal

It's usually best to go the extra mile when you're dealing with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), even if it feels like a nuisance or a waste of time. That's even more applicable if you're one of the few people who still file a paper or "snail mail" tax return rather than filing electronically.

Following a few guidelines will ensure that your tax return goes to the proper address, that it gets there on time, and that you have proof of delivery.

Key Takeaways

  • The IRS has numerous addresses for mailing in paper returns. They depend on your state of residence and whether you're also enclosing payment.
  • Use certified mail, return receipt requested, if you send your return by snail mail. It will provide proof that it was received.
  • The IRS accepts deliveries from FedEx, UPS, and DHL Express. But you must use an approved class of service.
  • Hand delivering your return can be an option depending on where you live. But the IRS Taxpayer Assistance Service locations are still imposing COVID rules in early 2022.

Where To Mail Your Personal Tax Return

The IRS has more addresses than you might imagine because its processing centers are located all around the country. The address you'll use depends on what you're mailing and where you live. Go to the Where to File page on the IRS website if you're sending a personal tax return, an amended return, or if you're asking for an extension of time to file. The page includes links for every state.

Note that the mailing address is usually different if you're submitting a payment with your return. You'll typically mail returns with payments to the IRS. Returns without payments go to the Department of the Treasury.

Note

IRS addresses change periodically, so don’t automatically send your tax return to the same place you sent it in previous years.

Note that the IRS uses ZIP codes to help sort incoming mail. Make sure your return gets to the right place as quickly as possible by including the last four digits after the five-digit zip code. For example, the correct address (with the four-digit zip code extension) for a California 2021 Form 1040 mailed with a payment in calendar year 2022 is:

Internal Revenue Service
P.O. Box 802501
Cincinnati, OH 
45280-2501

Use a Secure Method To Mail Your Return

Always use a secure method, such as certified mail return receipt requested, when you're sending returns and other documents to the IRS. This will provide confirmation that the IRS has actually received your documents or payment.

In addition to addressing it correctly and using sufficient postage, be sure the envelope is postmarked no later than the date your return is due. The date of the registration is the postmark date if you use registered mail. The date stamped on the receipt is the postmark date if you use certified mail.

Note

Make sure the return is sent out no later than the date due if you use an IRS-approved private carrier.

Other Tax Forms

The IRS address may be different if you're filing something other than a personal tax return. Estimated payments and Form 1040-ES, amended returns, and IRS Form 4868 for tax extensions all have their own individual addresses. The Where to File page on the IRS website provides links for these other forms as well.

Mailing a Business Tax Return

You can find the proper mailing address for various business tax forms on the the IRS website as well:

How To Mail Tax Returns If You Live Outside the U.S.

You can send your tax return or payment using the U.S. Postal Service if you're mailing from inside the U.S. Consider using a private delivery service otherwise, especially if you want proof that your tax return was sent on time.

Approved Delivery Services

You can use private delivery services FedEx, UPS, or DHL Express. But you must use one of the approved classes of service for each carrier:

  • FedEx: Use Priority Overnight, Standard Overnight, 2 Day, International Priority, International First, First Overnight, International First Next Flight Out, or International Economy
  • UPS: Use Next Day Air, Next Day Air Saver, 2nd Day Air, 2nd Day Air A.M., Worldwide Express Plus, Worldwide Express, or Next Day Air Early AM
  • DHL Express: Use DHL Express, DHL Express Worldwide, DHL Express Envelope, DHL Import Express, or Import Express Worldwide

International taxpayers often mail their returns to Austin, Texas, or to Charlotte, North Carolina, if they're submitting payment. But the address where you send your return might differ. Check the appropriate address on the IRS website.

The IRS will accept the "sent on" date on envelopes sent using an approved carrier just as it does with U.S. mail.

Note

Consider placing each tax return in its own envelope, then putting all the envelopes into a larger envelope if you're mailing more than one return to the same location. Mail the larger envelope to the IRS by certified mail, return receipt requested.

Hand Delivering Your Return

You can hand-deliver your return to a local IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center under normal circumstances if you can find one located near where you live. You can ask the IRS agent for a stamped receipt upon submitting it.

Walk-ins are no longer accepted as of January 2022, although you can call ahead and make an appointment. Masks are required to protect against COVID-19 if you're located in an area with a high or "substantial" transmission rate. The six-feet-apart rule remains in place.

The IRS website provides a search tool based on your zip code, as well as locations, addresses, and phone numbers for each state.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long does it take to file taxes by mail?

It can normally take six to eight weeks for the IRS to process mail-in paper returns, but the IRS warns that it can take longer in 2022 due to the pandemic. Your return will be considered on time if it's postmarked by the due date. But you may need to wait a few months to receive your refund.

How do I file state taxes by mail?

Each state has its own tax-filing system. Check with your state's department of revenue or other tax agency to find out where you need to mail your taxes.

What do I need to file taxes by mail?

Include all necessary tax forms for the IRS if you file by mail: your Form 1040 or 1040-SR, any schedules, and any other additional forms you have to fill out for your particular return. You should also include a check if you owe any taxes, or you can use IRS Direct Pay to make payment online from your checking or savings account.

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Sources
The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. IRS. "California - Where To File Addresses for Taxpayers and Tax Professionals."

  2. IRS. "Publication 17 (2021), Your Federal Income Tax."

  3. IRS. "Contact Your Local IRS Office."

  4. IRS. "How To File."

  5. IRS. "Publication 17 (2021), Your Federal Income Tax."

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