IRS Revises List of Private Delivery Services, Updates Postmark Date Rules

Author: Rena Pirsos, XpertHR Legal Editor

May 13, 2015

In Notice 2015-38 the IRS has revised the list of designated private delivery services (designated PDSs) that employers filing federal tax forms, or other documents, with the IRS may use in order to be eligible for protection under the "timely mailing treated as timely filing/paying" rule of Internal Revenue Code (IRC) § 7502. The Notice also updates and consolidates the rules for determining the postmark date for documents delivered by a designated PDS. These changes are effective May 6, 2015.

IRC § 7502 generally provides that the postmark date on a document mailed by a taxpayer to the IRS (i.e., an employer filing Form 941, Employer's Quarterly Federal Tax Return) will be considered the date of delivery to the IRS or, for tax payments, the date of payment. The list of designated (in other words, acceptable) PDSs was established under this rule because regular mailing of tax documents in a mailbox or at a US post office does not guarantee that the envelope will be postmarked on time to satisfy an IRS deadline, or even postmarked at all so as to provide a taxpayer with proof of the mailing date. Meeting IRS filing deadlines is crucial to avoiding the imposition of steep penalties and fines.

A taxpayer's use of one of the designated PDSs provides a presumption that the postmark was timely applied so that a document mailed on time for purposes of an IRS deadline is considered timely filed. The IRS occasionally updates the list of designated PDSs, as it has done now in Notice 2015-38.

The Notice removes the following five previously designated PDSs because they are no longer available:

  • DHL Same Day Service;
  • DHL Next Day 10:30 AM;
  • DHL Next Day 12:00 PM;
  • DHL Next Day 3:00 PM; and
  • DHL 2nd Day Service.

The Notice adds the following four new designated PDSs to the list:

  • FedEx First Overnight;
  • FedEx International Next Flight Out;
  • FedEx International Economy; and
  • UPS Next Day Air Early AM.

The following is the full list of designated PDSs as of the May 6 effective date:


  • FedEx First Overnight;
  • FedEx Priority Overnight;
  • FedEx Standard Overnight;
  • FedEx 2 Day;
  • FedEx International Next Flight Out;
  • FedEx International Priority;
  • FedEx International First; and
  • FedEx International Economy.


  • UPS Next Day Air Early AM;
  • UPS Next Day Air;
  • UPS Next Day Air Saver;
  • UPS 2nd Day Air;
  • UPS 2nd Day Air AM;
  • UPS Worldwide Express Plus; and
  • UPS Worldwide Express.

This list will remain in effect until further notice. The IRS cautions that, while there are other PDSs provided by FedEx or UPS, those not on this list are not designated for purposes of the timely mailing treated as timely filing/paying rule of § 7502.

Postmark Date Rules

IRC § 7502 requires a PDS to either (1) record electronically to its data base the date on which an item was given to the PDS for delivery or (2) mark on the cover of the item the date on which an item was given to the PDS for delivery. The date recorded or the date marked by the PDS is treated as the postmark date for purposes of § 7502.

Under Notice 2015-38, the postmark date for an item delivered after the due date is presumed to be the day that precedes the delivery date by an amount of time that equals the amount of time it would normally take for an item to be delivered under the terms of the specific type of delivery service used (e.g., two days before the actual delivery date for a two-day delivery service). Taxpayers that want to overcome this presumption must provide the IRS with information that shows that the date recorded in the delivery service's electronic data base is on or before the due date, such as a written confirmation produced and issued by the designated PDS.

Each delivery service stores the date recorded in its database only for a certain time period, but for no less than six months. Senders or recipients using a designated delivery service can obtain information concerning the date recorded by contacting the designated delivery service.