Apart from these issues, it can be difficult to avoid the adverse effects of return contracts, especially when the presumed effective date of an agreement is several months before the date it was actually signed, as can be seen in FH Partners, LLC v. Complete Home Concepts, Inc. A retroactive document to achieve a more favorable legal outcome is probably also illegal. For example, when a document is signed in January, but it is dated to December to get some tax benefit, it is likely illegal and may be criminal. Sometimes a document needs to be returned to do it correctly. Assuming that a supplier starts delivering their product under a proposed contract only to find later that the customer has never signed the contract. In this case, the insertion of the date on which the parties began to perform the contract is more precise than the actual date of signature. And you just have to cultivate the good habit of not setting a date for a contract that is not at the same time as its actual signature. The return of contractual documents can be one of the most complex issues facing lawyers. While this problem only comes up from time to time, it is important to have a solid understanding of how to proceed. When it comes to private contracts, backdating is usually not illegal.