mailbox rule


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mailbox rule

A rule of contract law that says if an offer is made in such a manner that it would be reasonable to assume that another person would accept the offer by placing a letter or other writing in the mail, then acceptance is deemed to have occurred when the writing was placed in the mail,not when it was received by the person making the offer.For example,this is important when a property owner offers,in writing,to sell a particular property for a specified sum.The potential purchaser decides to accept the offer and mail the acceptance to the owner.Before the owner receives the letter, but after it is mailed, the owner decides to withdraw the offer and takes the property off the market or increases the price.In this example,the owner cannot do so because the purchaser has already accepted the offer; it cannot be withdrawn. There is now a contract; there is no longer an offer capable of revocation.

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However, by going one step further and using or requiring certified mail to send notice, the company may lose the benefit of the mailbox rule, thus necessitating a higher level of proof.
Because the refund claim was timely, the mailbox rule applied.
However, in Weisbart, the court ruled that the mailbox rule applied to a delinquent tax return showing a tax overpayment.
Returns and documents sent to the Service, the Tax Court or the government by four private companies--Airborne Express, DHL Worldwide Express, Federal Express and United Parcel Service--qualify for the statutory mailbox rule.
The court thus concluded that the mailbox rule did apply independently to an original return claim.
The Second Circuit observed, however, that such a construction would deprive the refund claim of the benefit of the mailbox rule and was contrary to the IRS's own Regs.
Commissioner (44 AFTR2d 79-5063) and the Sixth in Miller v United States (57 AFTR2d 86-928), maintained that the common-law mailbox rule was not repealed by section 7502 and may be used to determine when delivery occurred in cases where a taxpayer does not need to rely on section 7502 and produces evidence beyond its own testimony that the mailing occurred early enough to allow receipt by the IRS before the deadline.