I had lunch with a friend of mine today. He’d sent a response to the IRS last Friday by Registered Mail. Registered Mail is more expensive than Certified Mail, but Registered Mail is automatically admissible as evidence in court.
The postman told him that it is now government policy to refuse to accept all Registered Mail. If you send Registered Mail, the Post Office will still process and send it. However, if that Registered Mail is delivered to, say, the IRS or the Department of Agriculture, those agencies will refuse to sign for it and cause your Registered Mail to be returned to you unopened.
On hearing my friend’s story, my first thought is that the “legal reform” community must be having a strong effect on the government. Apparently, the government has realized that Registered Mail is used by “sovereigns” and other “terrorists” to create evidence to be used for suing the government. Therefore, if gov-co sees Registered Mail, they may presume that it signals a coming lawsuit. Gov-co is apparently tired not of only of the annoyance of our lawsuits, and the cost of our lawsuits, but perhaps even our victories, near victories and/or inevitable victories. Therefore, government may be seeking to blunt our lawsuits by depriving us of the evidence we can create with Registered Mail.
But bear in mind, that I’m telling you what my friend told me about what a Post Office employee told him that he’d heard from some other source. That’s hearsay on hearsay on hearsay on hearsay. That’s not a reliable chain of “evidence”.
I have absolutely no evidence that this story about some or all of the government no longer accepting Registered Mail is true. In fact, if I had to guess, I’d say the rumor is false. I can’t imagine that the entire government would enact a policy whereby all government agencies would refuse to accept Registered Mail. (However, I could imagine that the IRS, alone, might’ve started a new policy of refusing to accept Registered Mail.)
Nevertheless, I’m publishing this story in hopes that some of you will have some evidence that supports or refutes this rumor.
And I’m also publishing on the off chance that the rumor is true, because a policy of refusing to accept our Registered Mail could be a great blessing.
I.e., suppose: 1) the IRS was after me to pay $5,000; and 2) it’s true that the IRS won’t accept any Registered Mail. And let’s suppose I sent the IRS a Registered Mail containing a $100 check and a letter explaining that: 1) I wasn’t sure if I owed the alleged $5000 debt or not; 2) I disputed the debt; 3) that the enclosed $100 was my good faith attempt to pay part of the alleged debt; and 4) the IRS should cash the $100 if they still thought I owed the $5,000 or return the check to me, if they agreed that I did not owe them $5,000.
Soooo. . . if the IRS refused to open my Registered Mail envelope and sent my $100 check back to me, would that stand up in court as evidence that the IRS had agreed that I did not owe the $5,000? Probably not. But the issue would still be so bizarre that the IRS might not want to take a chance prosecuting and therefore let the case go. (Would you want to be the US Attorney responsible for explaining to the jury why the IRS refused to accept mail in the legally acceptable form of Registered Mail? Would you want to try to explain that such IRS policy was not due to a desire to obstruct justice by depriving the sender of admissible evidence? I wouldn’t.)
More, I’m told that according to UCC § 3-604, a debt tendered and refused is a debt paid at law. I.e., if you try to pay a debt with legal tender and the creditor refuses to accept your payment, that bill is nevertheless deemed to paid in full. If so, then if I was certain that the IRS would return my Registered Mail unopened, I might include a check for the whole $5,000 and a letter reminding the IRS of the relevant law about refusing to accept a payment in legal tender. If the IRS returned my Registered Mail to me unopened and with my $5,000 check included, and if I could secure evidence from the Post Office that my Registered Mail had been delivered to the IRS, but the IRS had refused to receive it, I might have pretty good grounds to argue that I’d offered to pay, the IRS had refused my payment, and the debt was therefore canceled.
You can bet that if any of the previous conjecture turned out to be valid, the IRS would soon start accepting Registered Mail again, and we “legal reform” people would quickly return to using Registered Mail to create admissible evidence.
So. Is the rumor true that government in general (or the IRS in particular) no longer accepts Registered Mail? Probably not. But in the unlikely event that several of you provide evidence in support of the rumor, perhaps we can have some fun.