Distressed. Correios lost my 2014 tax return

Hi, me again!

So the brazilian public service incompetence saga continues...

I decided to file taxes with Greenback tax services (highly recommended)
US Expats have an automatic 2 month extension with The IRS. Tax return was finalized on June 10, 2014, just 5 days before the deadline. The next morning I went to the Correios (post office) located at Recife Mall. That's where everything started going wrong.
Although there were 5 attendants, only two were actually servicing. Two people ahead of me and 20 minutes later, it was finally my turn. An elderly man in his late 60's politely asked what I needed. I inquired about the fastest shipping options available. He asked for the address and said earliest date would be 12-15 days. Around $170. For 4 sheets of paper inside an envelope. Uh... What?
One of the other attendants (youngest of all there) overheard the conversation and came over to help. He said,  oh that shipping option is unavailable at the moment.
The older gentlemen said "oh there is also global blah blah blah... That's 3-5 days"
young man said: yes but thats only avalable for California and NY"
Me: "OK so what is my best option????"
Young man: "Sedex Mundi, 6 business days"
Ok, I thought to myself. There is a high chance my taxes will get there late but at this point I have no other option that I'm aware of. So I paid. $111 Reais. For an envelope with 4 sheets of paper.
Older gentlemen typed the label , printed it, slapped it on the envelope and threw in a box behind him. i asked: "can i check the address before I leave?"
Sure enough, it was ALL WRONG. POORLY typed. No zip code. At this point My blood is boiling but was able to keep my composture since I've been dealing with these type of situations for the past 4 years. The young man came over AGAIN, and fixed the address. Seemed like he's always on top of his older coworkers' actions.
Now let's Fast foward to 2 weeks later: envelope has not arrived. Surprise! surprise!
Tracking info says it has been stuck at some dept in Brazil since June 12. I figured Correios might have more info on the tracking info so I went to my local Correios office. Why did I do that?
Girl attendant: Oh wow it's been stuck at so so since June 12. It should have arrived a long time ago.
Me: yeah. I know. I can see the same exact info on the correios website. I was hoping you can explain
Girl: oh I dont know. I'm guessing you can call the 800 number and ask them what to do.
My husband and I left furious. We called the number and finally talked to a rep. They told us to go online and file a complaint and should get an update within 5 business days. I really don't know what to do. i don't even care if it's lost, just refund my money. What is another option to mail my docs?? Can an airline service be trusted? Ether way at this point, my tax return is way past due.

Welcome to Brazil the Land of Mediocrity. I know exactly how you feel, because I've had more than my share of troubles with the incompetence of Correios. Over the past year, no less than 6 of my Canada Pension Plan retirement pension checks have simply vanished from the face of the earth. As you might have already guessed, the only way to obtain a replacement check is to phone Service Canada, request they send out a request form (by mail), fill it out and send it back (also by mail). This process takes at least 6 months for each missing checki and Registered Mail between Macaé - RJ and anywhere in Canada takes at the very least one month to arrive, more often closer to two months. Of course NOBODY at Correios accepts responsibility for anything, and even trying to get compensation for any major financial losses they may cause you takes a civil action in the Tribunal Federal Regional (Regional Federal Court).

Correios delayed my 2013 Income Tax Return until well beyond the filing deadline for international returns, and as a result even though it was posted before the deadline Revenue Canada denied my Part 217 claim, which is now under appeal.

If you've been savvy enough to retain the receipt for mailing your income tax return, then have a certified copy of it made at the nearest Cartório and send it to the IRS with a full explanation that although you posted the return prior to the deadline it has been lost/delayed by Correios. That should at least protect you from any late filing fines imposed by the IRS. I would highly suggest that, given the circumstances, not trust that it will even arrive and complete and send in another 1040 just to cover yourself. Try FedEx and on the airbill indicate that the contents are DOCUMENTS because if you indicate that it is a letter or correspondence of any kind they likely won't accept it, because it will get them into hot water because of the protectionist laws here in Brazil that favor the incompetent Correios.

Go back to the agency where you posted your income tax return and demand a full refund, since they've lost the article. Even if they haven't actually lost it, they did not deliver it on schedule and that alone entitles you to a refund. Don't take no for an answer.

I don't know if US citizens have the option to e-file international tax returns, but if they do, that is what you should be doing in order to keep yourself on good terms with Uncle Sam. Sad to say we Canadians don't have that luxury, we are forced to paper file international returns.

James      Expat-blog Experts Team

Hi James,

I had to mail my tax return because it's the first year I filed as married, and apparently the IRS requires the first year to be submitted by mail. On the brighter side, I finally got an update on my package. Correios emailed me today informing that the envelope was delivered on June 15, 2015. They just didin't care to update the tracking info. Not the first time this happens. What's funny though is that every time I purchase something abroad, correios are so quick to mail me the customs fee, but yet are incompetent for their customer's interests

First mistake was to use the post office
Should use DHL or UPS , not sure if FEDEX is there (might be same as SEDEX?)

Anyway, stay away from the BR post office unless you are sending something inside Brasil

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