The majority of individual income tax returns are e-filed. Most of them are accepted quickly and require no further action by the tax filer. However, noncustodial parents who claim a dependent child who lives with the other parent are required to mail a separate paper form after e-filing their income tax return.
Certain aspects of some tax returns require supporting documentation that cannot be e-filed. The supporting documents must be mailed in shortly after acknowledgment by the IRS that the e-filed return has been accepted. A noncustodial parent is required to mail IRS Form 8332, or its equivalent, to support their claim to a child who resides with the other parent.
Form 8332 requires the signature of the custodial parent. Form 8332 can be mailed along with a paper tax return for the noncustodial parent, but it cannot be e-filed. The IRS receives a lot of paper correspondence, so there is another specific tax form that is required to indicate that the attached paper is supporting documentation for your particular tax return.
IRS Form 8453 is effectively a cover sheet that must be mailed with Form 8332. If you were divorced before 2009, you may be able to attach certain pages from your divorce decree rather than Form 8332. The instructions for Form 8332 prescribe which pages of an earlier divorce decree to attach as a substitute for Form 8332.
Regardless of which documentation you send with Form 8453, the physical letter containing the items must be mailed within three business days after the IRS accepts your e-filed return. The mailing address for Form 8453 is included in the instructions for the form. The address listed in the instructions is only for mailing Form 8453 and its supporting documents. If you mail your entire tax return, send all the paper forms together to the regular IRS filing address for your area.
Form 8453 is also used to mail several other various types of supporting documents after a tax return is e-filed. The list of items that can be sent with Form 8453 is very specific. If you need to physically mail a document that is not listed on Form 8453, you cannot e-file the tax return.
Because of the requirement to mail Form 8453 within three business days of e-file acceptance, it is advisable to have the paper documents ready to mail before actually e-filing your tax return. Contact a tax preparer, like one from Merrill L. Johns & Associates, for more information about filing tax returns.