The IRS sends millions of letters and notices to taxpayers for a variety of reasons. Many of these letters and notices can be dealt with without calling or visiting an IRS office. Here's what you need to know about IRS notices and letters:
Reasons You Might Receive an IRS Notice or Letter
The IRS sends notices and letters for a number of reasons such as:
- You have a balance due.
- You are due a larger or smaller refund.
- We have a question about your tax return.
- We need to verify your identity.
- We need additional information.
- We changed your return.
- We need to notify you of delays in processing your return.
Each Notice or Letter Contains Valuable Information
It is very important that you read the IRS notice or letter carefully. If the IRS changed your tax return, compare the information provided in the notice or letter with the information in your original return.
Explaining the Reason for the Contact
The notice will explain why it was sent and will also give you instructions on how to handle the issue. If your notice or letter requires a response by a specific date, there are two main reasons you'll want to comply:
- To minimize additional interest and penalty charges.
- To preserve your appeal rights if you don’t agree.
Usually No Reply Is Necessary
If you agree with the correction to your account, then usually no reply is necessary - unless a payment is due or the notice directs otherwise.
Respond as Requested
If you disagree with the correction the IRS made, it is still important to respond as requested. You should send a written explanation of why you disagree and include any documents and information you want the IRS to consider along with the bottom tear-off portion of the notice. Mail the information to the IRS address located in the upper left of the notice. Allow at least 30 days for a response.
Pay as Much as You Can
If you can't pay the full amount you owe, you should pay as much as you can to try to avoid or reduce penalties incurred. You can pay online or apply for an Online Payment Agreement or Offer in Compromise. If you need help with either of these, please call the office.
Usually No Need to Visit an IRS Office
Most correspondence can be handled without calling or visiting an IRS office. However, if you have questions, call the telephone number in the upper right of the notice. Have a copy of your tax return and the correspondence available when you call to help the IRS respond to your inquiry.
Keep a Copy of Notices and Letters
It's important to keep a copy of all notices or letters with your tax records. You may need to reference these documents at a later date.
IRS Notices and Letters Are Sent by Mail
The IRS does not correspond by email about taxpayer accounts or tax returns. If you search the IRS website for your notice or letter and it doesn't return a result - or you believe the notice or letter looks suspicious - contact the IRS at 800-829-1040 or report it on the Report Phishing page on IRS.gov. You can find the notice (CP) or letter (LTR) number on either the top or the bottom right-hand corner of your correspondence.
Contact Phone Number Is Provided
A contact phone number is provided on the top right-hand corner of the notice or letter. Typically, you only need to contact the IRS if you don't agree with the information, have a balance due, or need to send additional information.
Questions or Concerns About IRS Notices?
As always, don't hesitate to call if you have questions or concerns about IRS notices.
Mr. Maker is a certified Public Accountant and serving the South Asian community since 1993.
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