February 16, 2015

irs_noticeYou may have received a notice or letter from the IRS. Now what?

Notices or letters from the IRS generally indicate the reason for the correspondence, and also provide instructions for you to follow. Note that notices from the IRS can be either favorable or unfavorable. While your first reaction may understandably be dread or panic, keep calm and remember that many notices and letters can be dealt with by either visiting or calling an IRS office.

Identify What the IRS Wants

The letter or notice should state the reason it was sent in the first place, as well as its primary purpose and contain instruction on how to respond. Typically, there is a specific issue regarding your tax return or account. It could be a request for additional information on your tax return, to inform you of additional tax you owe, or on the positive side to let you know that your refund is larger than initially reported.

There are more than 70 unique letters you can receive from the IRS on a vast number of topics, and so you should refer to the notice number located on the upper right hand of the document. There is a table on the IRS website that explains each type of notice or letter in detail, and so you can easily match your notice’s number with the number in the table in order for more information. Even though the contents may slightly vary based on your unique case, notices with the same number basically serve the same purpose.

Responding to the IRS

You are usually given 30 days to respond to a letter or notice from the IRS. Follow the instructions indicated, whether it asks you a specific question or requests you to provide more information. You may be able to respond to the notice yourself if it is a minor issue. In some instances, however, it may be best to consult with a tax professional.

If you do not agree with what is written on the notice, respond with a written explanation as soon as possible. Clearly outline your reasons for disagreeing, and enclose copies of all documents that may be relevant to your case. Mail your letter and documents to the address printed on the top left corner, and include the bottom tear-off stub that includes your name, address, and Social Security number for reference purposes. Allow a minimum of one month for a response. Make it a point to keep a copy of any and all correspondences with the IRS should you need to refer to it later on.

The important thing is to respond when the IRS contacts you. Ignoring notices will not make issues go away, and may even result in additional penalties.

If you owe the IRS a significant amount of money it might be advisable to consult with an experienced tax attorney to help you plan the best course of action.


Categories: Mailed Tax Notices