In Notice 2004-83, 2004-2 C.B. 1030, the IRS listed all private delivery services that have been designated by the Secretary under section 7502(f). The Federal Express delivery services included on this list are as follows: FedEx Priority Overnight, FedEx Standard Overnight, FedEx 2 Day, FedEx International Priority, and FedEx International First. Notice 2004-83, 2004-2 C.B. at 1030, explicitly states that "FedEx * * * [is] not designated with respect to any type of delivery service not identified above." Thus, FedEx Express Saver is not a "designated private delivery service" within the meaning of section 7502(f). See Scaggs v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2012-258 (holding that the "timely mailed, timely filed" rule of section 7502 does not apply to "Fed Ex Express Saver Third business day" service because that service is not a designated private delivery service under Notice 2004-83, supra); see also Raczkowski v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2007-72 (holding that the "timely mailed, timely filed" rule of section 7502 does not apply to "UPS Ground" service because that service is not a designated private delivery service under Notice 2004-83, supra).
Petitioner mailed his petition on September 10, 2012, using the FedEx Express Saver delivery service. Because FedEx Express Saver is not a "designated private delivery service," petitioner cannot avail himself of the "timely mailed, timely filed" rule of section 7502(a) and (f). His petition was not filed until September 12, 2012, two days after the expiration of the 90-day period. It was therefore untimely, and this Court lacks jurisdiction to redetermine the deficiency.
We acknowledge that the result we reach may seem harsh. Notice 2004-83, supra, was issued nine years ago; private delivery companies may have since initiated delivery services resembling those listed in Notice 2004-83, supra; and many taxpayers may be unaware of the nuanced differences among these services.4 However, this Court may not rely on general equitable principles to expand the statutorily prescribed time for filing a petition. See Austin v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2007-11 (citing Woods v. Commissioner, 92 T.C. 776, 784-785 (1989)). The statute gives us jurisdiction under the "timely mailed, timely filed" rule only if a private delivery service has been "designated by the Secretary." Sec. 7502(f)(2). Because FedEx Express Saver has not been so designated, our hands are tied. n5See prior blogs on this issue: Pay Attention to Court Filings Not Qualifying for the Timely Mailing-Timely Filing Rule (Federal Tax Procedure Blog 7/10/13); here, and Watch the Details in Relying on the Timely Mailing, Timely Filing Rule (Federal Tax Procedure Blog 2/7/13), here.
n5 Although petitioner cannot pursue his case in this Court, he may not be without a judicial remedy. He may pay the tax, file a claim for refund with the IRS, and, if his claim is denied, sue for a refund in the appropriate U.S. District Court or the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. See McCormick v. Commissioner, 55 T.C. 138, 142 n.5 (1970).
This is a cautionary tale. I tell my students that this is such an easy rule to comply with, I better not read a case in which they failed to comply. Of course, it is often the pro se taxpayer who is caught by this nuance.