Smart TaxesSmart Taxes

8 things to do before mailing your return

Don't send off your forms before double-checking to make sure you've completed all the necessary steps, from signing in the right place to sending your check to the correct address.

By MSN Money Partner Mar 8, 2012 8:59PM
This post is by Robert D. Flach of MainStreet.


Before mailing your finished tax returns to the state and federal government, it’s very important to review them carefully -- regardless of who actually prepared the returns.


If you, or your tax preparer, are submitting your returns electronically, review hard copies before sending them along the information highway. 


Even if your return was completed by a paid preparer, you are legally responsible for all the information on the return. 


If you discover something on a return that you do not understand, contact your preparer immediately. But remember, just because you do not understand something does not mean there is an error. (Post continues below video.)


Here is what to do before putting your tax return in the mail (or sending it online):

  • Double-check all Social Security numbers entered on all pages of your return. An incorrect number will hold up your refund. If you changed your name during the year because of marriage or divorce, you should notify the Social Security Administration and receive a new Social Security card before filing a return with the new last name.
  • Sign your return in the proper place. If you are filing a joint tax return with a spouse, both of you must sign. If your spouse passed away during the year, sign on the first line and write "Surviving Spouse" on the line for the spouse’s signature. Special rules apply if you are signing the return for a non-spouse deceased taxpayer or for someone else under a power of attorney. 
  • Make sure the preparer signs the return. If you paid a professional to prepare your returns, you’ll need his or her signature and the Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) issued by the Internal Revenue Service.
  • Attach Copy B of all Forms W-2, W-2G and 1099-R with federal income tax withheld. Uncle Sam is very particular and wants Copy B and not Copy C or Copy 2. If you attach the wrong copy, the IRS may return the form to you. 
  • Mail your return to the correct address. The IRS often changes the mailing address for returns. The address is determined by your state of residence. It is listed in the instruction booklet or at the IRS website. If you have a balance due, you must use a payment voucher (1040-V), and mail your return to a lockbox instead of directly to the IRS. 
  • Make your check payable to "United States Treasury Service." If you owe money to Uncle Sam, the check should be made out to the Treasury and not to the Internal Revenue Service or IRS. Write your Social Security number and "2011 Form 1040" (or "2011 Form 1040A") on the check.
  • Make a copy of the return for your records. Or, if you hired a preparer, be sure you get a copy from him or her.
  • Have the envelope weighed to be sure there is enough postage. Also, include your full return address.

More from MainStreet and MSN Money: 




Apr 11, 2012 3:02PM
Writing your SS# on the Check?  That's bad advise...dude!
Apr 11, 2012 3:00PM
Why does the IRS require SSAN on my payment check?  Those checks go through who know who to be processed.  Talk about a way to set someone up for identiy theft.  My bank told me long ago not to get that info printed on the check.  So they have to take a few extra seconds and actually post the payment before moving on and opening the next envelope to be sure and keep them straight.
Apr 3, 2012 4:23PM

Uh, before mailing your return.... "I know, I know, sign the damn thing".

How many times have I heard this before?

Apr 3, 2012 4:33PM
Taxes, SSA, IRS, --------------------------------------------- America's biggest Ponzi schemes !!!
Apr 20, 2012 12:01PM

The IRS sent my Tax Return back! AGAIN!!!
....I guess it was because of my response to the question : "List all dependents?"
I replied -
  12 million illegal immigrants;
  3 million crack heads;
  42 million unemployable people on food stamps,
  2 million people in over 243 prisons;
  Half of Mexico ; and
  535 fools in the U.S. House and Senate.”

Apparently, this was NOT an acceptable answer.

Apr 11, 2012 2:48PM





Apr 11, 2012 4:56PM
this is not right for a lot of people this year if you check you status in the web the say the same thing for ever your  tax return has been received and is being processed ,  some people have send  the papers by turbo tax like 1 month and have and still  the same no later by mail to see if make a mistake or you have emends
Apr 11, 2012 1:54PM

Who sends hard copy?

I don't even know where you get the forms.

I have done mine electronically for years.


Check the SS#s. Done that three times.

Nothing else applies.

My service costs $15 and both Fed and State are electron.



Apr 3, 2012 1:27PM
be very careful the uspostal service is not mailing to and from the address you have on the
envelopes .....that is a not acceptable.......... the IRS address clearly already printed on outside of
front envelope and your return address also clearly printed.....ours went to a different city
all together...the nice person who received it ....forward it....from the usp .just a .sorry.....comment.
this is not a birthday card.....what are there persons doing they get great pay ...but also too many
misstakes and this one in my book was a big one......

Apr 11, 2012 2:44PM
vic downs...................what tax bracket are you in?  Or do you even pay any taxes?
Apr 11, 2012 4:40PM

"mailing"??? Who "mails" *anything*?


truecapitalist: quit yelling. You're not 5 years old.

Apr 17, 2012 2:09PM
Do not have the total amount to pay IRS.
Mar 13, 2012 10:49AM
What about E-FILE?  I found out you cannot cancel it even within 24 hours of filing and re-file it corrected, so you have to send a 1040X.  I guess IRS loves paperwork.   So much for free tax software programs that say they are free but you have to use a different version so can make typo errors re-doing it.
Apr 11, 2012 1:55PM

Well I GIVE UP! The rich are taking everything they can and no one seems to question how they are doing it. I KNOW! Do you want to see how they are getting a ton of cash for their stock budgets? Google the term "FAST STOCK BUDGET" and go to the first site or right to the site with the same name. They have a penny stock page that shows what the rich don't want you to see. If you are tired of being poor and want in on the action, then this is a must see. Be prepared to see how the other half lives.  














is a not acceptable..........​ the IRS address clearly already printed on outside of

front envelope and your return address also clearly printed.....ours went to a different city
all together...the nice person who received it ....forward it....from the usp .just a .sorry.....comment.
this is not a birthday card.....what are there persons doing they get great pay ...but also too many
misstakes and this one in my book was


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