As you may know, the United States Postal Service (USPS) will be scaling back its operations in a major way come next spring. Over the years, the internet has caused most of us to go “paperless” in virtually every aspect of our lives, which in turn has damaged the paper industry and also those in the business of shipping paper. USPS does not receive funding from tax dollars; instead, it is dependent on the revenues it generates from postage income. Not surprisingly, the USPS is hurting financially. In fact, it plans on closingover half of its mail processing centers to remain viable, which will certainly affect speed of delivery.
If you have tax problems or if you work in the tax relief industry, you know first hand how much mail the IRS sends through the USPS. In case you’re wondering, the IRS doesn’t ship for free. “The United States Postal Service bills the IRS on monthly basis via the Intergovernmental Payment and Collection (IPAC) for one-twelfth of the yearly postage estimate” (IRM 188.8.131.52).
Internal Revenue Manual 1.22.4 contains detailed guidance on postage accountability and reporting requirements for IRS personnel. Although one of the aims of this guidance is to reduce waste, it seems that much more could be done to reduce the IRS’ reliance on a mode of communication that is becoming more outdated and less reliable. It will be interesting to see how the changes at USPS will affect one of its largest customers, the IRS.