Zakaat al-fitr was enjoined by Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, on the lips of His Messenger Muhammad (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him), upon men and women, young and old, free and slave. The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) instructed that it be paid before the people go out for Eid prayer. The one who cannot find any poor people around him has to send it to other poor people in neighbouring villages or towns, and he should hasten to pay it before Eid prayer. He does not have the right to delay it until after Eid prayer, because this is contrary to the instructions of the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him).
The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) instructed that it be paid before the people go out, and he said: “Whoever pays it before the prayer, it is accepted zakaah, and whoever pays it after the prayer, it is ordinary charity.”
So what you have to do is pay attention to these instructions and pay it before the Eid prayer, even if it is one or two or three days before. There is nothing wrong with paying it on the twenty-eighth or twenty-ninth or thirtieth (of Ramadan).
Ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) used to pay it two days before Eid and sometimes three days before Eid, and the other Sahaabah used to do the same.
To sum up, there is nothing wrong with starting to pay it on the twenty-eighth and up to the time of Eid prayer. You do not have the right to delay it until after the prayer. If there are no poor people where you live, then look for poor people in another place, even if you have to travel. End quote.
Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz (may Allah have mercy on him)