Certified mail is most often used for official or legal correspondence. Because a signature is required upon delivery, it is commonly used by the IRS, lawyers, municipalities, and more. Worried it’s bad news? That’s not always the case. It could be a final check from a former employer or even naturalization documents from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Why Send Something Via Certified Mail?

Certified mail is an add-on service provided by the United States Postal Service. For a nominal fee (in addition to standard postage), it provides a paper trail for your letter. Certified mail provides proof that you sent it, along with proof of delivery or that a delivery attempt was made. Along with the recipient’s signature, you can opt to have a postcard mailed back to you as another assurance of delivery.

Who Uses Certified Mail?

Certified mail is most often used for official or legal documents of some kind. We have the list of the most common groups and agencies that use certified mail.

1. Internal Revenue Service

  • What the IRS sends via certified mail: Notice of Intent to Levy, Notice of Deficiency, audit notices

2. Lawyers

  • What lawyers send via certified mail: Summons, complaints, will notices/waivers

3. Municipalities

  • What municipalities send via certified mail: Court summons, court judgments, subpoenas, notices from landlords regarding matters such as eviction, notices from contractors

4. Social Security Administration

5. Employers

  • What employers send via certified mail: Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) forms, final checks to former employees

6. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

In Summary

Certified mail provides the sender with the assurance that a letter was delivered to the intended recipient. Most often, certified mail contains official or legal documents of some kind like an audit notice, court summons, or final check from a former employer.