Thursday, November 15, 2012

What To Do About Snail Mail?

Yet another dilemma--how to deal with snail mail. 
There are some things that cannot be converted to email or be handled online.

Because we do not want to burden our family with the task of dealing with our mail, I remember reading somewhere about using virtual mailboxes and here's what I found out:

There are several companies that offer similar services:
-Supply a stateside address. Each company has it's own list of addresses, some offer a choice of states.
-A variety of monthly costs determined by: number of envelopes scanned, number of content pages scanned, and number of mailbox recipients.
-Typically it is a month-to-month contract, cancel at anytime.

The process seems simple enough:
-Will initially scan the incoming envelope and send to your email address.
-You view the scanned envelope and decide: shred or open and scan the contents.
-Will open and scan the contents and post to your email. You then have a set amount of time to discard it or file the pdf file. Some services offer online filing for an additional fee.
-Some offer a check deposit service, if you receive a check, you must supply them with your bank's routing and account number, they will mark the check "for deposit only" and mail it to your bank for deposit. Typically there is an additional charge for this service.

What you have to do:
-Sign and have notarized USPS form 1583 so they can act as your agent in opening your mail. It is a US Federal crime to tamper with mail.
-Notify snail mail contacts of your "new" address.
-Notify USPS of your "forwarding" address.

I had a question about IRS tax filing and this "new" address. I was told the new address has no bearing on your tax filing as it is not your primary US address.

We have initially signed up with Traveling Mailbox for their least expensive plan and will let you know how well it works for us.

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