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Mailing returns to clients when at home

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#1
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Pros, I hope everyone is well. Since we have had to have admin staff work from home, we are trying to see what you do for postage solutions. What are you efficient ways of mailing out tax returns to clients who need to mail theirs out to IRS and states? For example, we use a pitney bowes postage machine for the office. We still need it there. We will call them to ask about getting another one. What do you use so you Dont have to visit the Post office? Thank you for any insight.
 

#2
ATSMAN  
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I do have stamps.com for business letter mailings BUT when I have to mail hard copy of tax return and associated originals of tax document I use flat rate priority 2 day letter from USPS. For the price you can't beat it plus the mailman picks it up right in my office. You don't have to worry about weight (unlike postage machine) and they will supply you the envelopes at your office free of charge. :P

The price did go up this year but it is still under $10 for most zip codes.
 

#3
JAD  
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FedEx. A little more expensive, but immaterial overall. I think pickup adds $4 to the bill.
 

#4
ATSMAN  
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JAD wrote:FedEx. A little more expensive, but immaterial overall. I think pickup adds $4 to the bill.


Almost double of USPS rates. I have a Fedex Account also and have not used it in the last 5 years!

This is my usual method, there is a smaller envelope for a $1 less I think.
Priority Mail Legal Flat Rate Envelope
USPS-Produced Envelope: 15" x 9-1/2"
$8.05
 

#5
JAD  
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Yes, almost double. But it's tax deductible and service is flawless.
 

#6
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JAD wrote:Yes, almost double. But it's tax deductible and service is flawless.


Same as JAD, I use FedEx. Members of the AICPA get a discount, which is pretty generous.

But then again, most of my clients efile. I just need to mail amended returns primarily or return source documents to out-of-state clients. AND (a big one), I bill my clients for out-of-pocket costs like FedEx. I don't try to internalize those in the fee or account for them. They're billed on a separate line item and at cost.

Couldn't agree more with JAD. FedEx is fast, the tracking actually works, and the employees at the counter don't have a grudge against humanity. I'll stick with that.
 

#7
ATSMAN  
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I bill my clients for out-of-pocket costs like FedEx. I don't try to internalize those in the fee or account for them. They're billed on a separate line item and at cost.


Over the decades I have heard people complain that lawyers charge by the page for copying and they charge for mailing etc. People feel that they nickel and dime you to death. So to avoid those complaints, I have priced mailing and copying costs for taxpayers that choose to mail me hard copies and expect to receive hard copy of their tax return.

For special projects which involve multiple mailings, I do itemize shipping costs.

I always try to have them submit the documents through secure portal or secure e-mail. But there are some clients who don't want to do that option. Yesterday I prepared the tax return of a client that has AGI over $250K, but they don't own a printer or scanner and don't want to do any "online" business. He mailed out a check for $11400 balance due to IRS.
 

#8
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ATSMAN wrote:Over the decades I have heard people complain that lawyers charge by the page for copying and they charge for mailing etc. People feel that they nickel and dime you to death. So to avoid those complaints, I have priced mailing and copying costs for taxpayers that choose to mail me hard copies and expect to receive hard copy of their tax return.


Everyone does what works for them. I have received no complaints thus far.

I'm merely recovering an out-of-pocket expense to a third party at cost. I don't think any reasonable person would take issue with that.
 

#9
Joan TB  
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But if you are choosing the most expensive option for mailing - which they will ultimately pay for -- not you, then some folks might not like it.

I have to admit that it does indeed irk me when my attorney sends me everything fedex - even things that are not urgent or need tracking. Just seems to be their default - I guess because they are not paying anyway, I am - but I do indeed take issue with that!
 

#10
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Joan TB wrote:But if you are choosing the most expensive option for mailing


Who said they were choosing the most expensive option for mailing? :)

Not choosing the absolute cheapest option is not the same as choosing the most expensive.

Again, everyone does what works for them. And FedEx gives very generous discounts to AICPA members. Delivery options past next day are very reasonable.

None of my clients have complained. The tracking is accurate, and FedEx means that a disgruntled postal worker isn't folding and shoving the envelope inside of an unattended mailbox. A FedEx worker walks it to the door, and if adult signature option was chosen, knocks and hands it over.

Everyone has the prerogative to do what's best for their practice and their clients. FedEx works for me. There is no wrong answer here.
 

#11
JAD  
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Long ago I used USPS. Then it happened....the return was lost. When it showed up on the client's doorstep many days later, we were all relieved, of course. I decided that the situation was ridiculous. I don't want to be associated with that level of service. The final step in the client's experience of me is receiving the tax return. I got rid of the stamp machine, signed up with FedEx, never looked back. I always know when the package will be delivered. The price difference between USPS and FedEx is about 3 minutes of billable time. It is completely immaterial. I do not charge the client. I use FedEx for my own peace of mind.
 

#12
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This is why this forum is so important. I did not know about the AICPA fedex discounts. Will set up now. Thank you.
 

#13
ATSMAN  
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I never had an issue with Priority Mail Flat Rate delivery tracking. As a matter of fact if the receiver is signed up with USPS informed delivery they get a heads up on what is going to be delivered to their mailbox.

Often times USPS gets blamed for a few "crazy" postal workers, but that is the exception.

If my client insists on Fedex and wants to pay for it, I will oblige :twisted:
 

#14
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ManVsTax wrote:I'm merely recovering an out-of-pocket expense to a third party at cost. I don't think any reasonable person would take issue with that.


At my prior employer, one client asked us to mail the 1099s to their recipients. It was about a dozen mailings. We added the cost to his invoice and he threw an absolute fit. Obviously, he was not a reasonable person :lol:

JAD wrote:Long ago I used USPS. Then it happened....the return was lost. When it showed up on the client's doorstep many days later, we were all relieved, of course. I decided that the situation was ridiculous. I don't want to be associated with that level of service. The final step in the client's experience of me is receiving the tax return. I got rid of the stamp machine, signed up with FedEx, never looked back. I always know when the package will be delivered. The price difference between USPS and FedEx is about 3 minutes of billable time. It is completely immaterial. I do not charge the client. I use FedEx for my own peace of mind.


I've found that the service between the big 3 (UPS/USPS/FedEx) is highly location-specific. In my area, I have to actively take steps to make sure that items are not sent FedEx, but USPS and UPS are usually fine. I'm aware that some areas have poor USPS service and others have poor UPS service.

Also, every person should sign up for USPS informed delivery. I'm actually planning on putting that in my summer newsletter.
 

#15
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FedEx is fast, the tracking actually works, and the employees at the counter don't have a grudge against humanity.


I LOLed so hard when I read this. It reminded me of the stone faces at the USPS counter window.
 

#16
ATSMAN  
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At my prior employer, one client asked us to mail the 1099s to their recipients. It was about a dozen mailings. We added the cost to his invoice and he threw an absolute fit. Obviously, he was not a reasonable person


As I said before many people have an issue with those small itemized charges. When I mail W2 or 1099-Misc to taxpayers my default method is First Class mail and I price that in my fees and never had those issues.

In my area, I have to actively take steps to make sure that items are not sent FedEx, but USPS and UPS are usually fine. I'm aware that some areas have poor USPS service and others have poor UPS service.


I operate in a semi-urban/rural area and I have found that USPS provides the best service. Many of my clients live in areas served by rural carriers and UPS and Fedex generally use the local rural carrier to make the actual home delivery.

Until USPS really gives me a reason to switch, I am sticking with them.
 

#17
Frankly  
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missingdonut wrote:Also, every person should sign up for USPS informed delivery.

Why? Does that prevent mail from being lost? Aid in tracking down lost mail?
 

#18
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ATSMAN wrote:As I said before many people have an issue with those small itemized charges. When I mail W2 or 1099-Misc to taxpayers my default method is First Class mail and I price that in my fees and never had those issues.


I totally agree and that's what I do in my practice. I was responding to ManVsTax's comment.

Frankly wrote:Why? Does that prevent mail from being lost? Aid in tracking down lost mail?


It can help identify where an issue in mail delivery has arisen if it's not using a tracking number -- if a piece of mail gets lost in between the sorting center and the mailbox. It's also great if a person is gone for a day or two to know what's in the mailbox.
 

#19
ATSMAN  
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It can help identify where an issue in mail delivery has arisen if it's not using a tracking number -- if a piece of mail gets lost in between the sorting center and the mailbox. It's also great if a person is gone for a day or two to know what's in the mailbox.


More than likely the mailman still has that piece in his truck! Remember Newman from Seinfeld when he stored bags of mail in his basement!
 


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