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<I spoke to someone at the post office, and he told me that the burden of proof for a late return (not a late payment) is on the IRS. They must produce evidence that the return was postmarked late.>

From what you have written, you seem to have resolved your situation by talking to a higher up. However, for future reference I would never take any tax advice from a postal employee.<g>

As the various pros we have on the board will tell you, the burden of proof in a case like this would not be on the IRS to prove you are wrong. It is on the taxpayer to prove they are right. The dated receipt for certified mailing accomplishes an accepted burden of proof for the taxpayer. If the IRS wants to acess any penalties and/or interest in the face of such a receipt, they must go out and prove you did something wrong. That little piece of paper has saved lots of people a lot of headaches.

Now that we are in the age of e-filing, I am not sure if any similar issues may arise. I guess if you wait until late on the last filing day and the server, your software or your entire computer goes down, there could be a problem. For those who continue to file hard copies, I still consider a certified receipt to be a very cheap insurance policy against either the IRS or the post office screwing up the various handoffs.

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