What you should do if you get a letter or notice from the IRS
Every year the IRS mails letters or notices to taxpayers for many different reasons.
Here are The W Tax Groups do’s and don’ts for taxpayers who receive an IRS letter:
- Don’t ignore it. Most IRS letters and notices are about federal tax returns or tax accounts. Each notice deals with a specific issue and includes specific instructions on what to do.
- Don’t panic. The IRS and its authorized private collection agencies do send letters by mail. Most of the time, all the taxpayer needs to do is read the letter carefully and take the appropriate action. The W Tax Group can make sense of your letter with a free evaluation, so not only can you determine what to do, you don’t even have to pay for it!
- Don’t reply unless instructed to do so. There is usually no need for a taxpayer to reply to a notice unless specifically instructed to do so. On the other hand, taxpayers who owe should reply with a payment. However, you should always be careful not to fall for scams. Always go to the IRS.gov for information how to make payments.
- Do take timely action. A notice may reference changes to a taxpayer’s account, taxes owed, a payment request or a specific issue on a tax return. Acting timely could minimize additional interest and penalty charges.
- Do review the information. If a letter is about a changed or corrected tax return, the taxpayer should review the information and compare it with the original return. If the taxpayer agrees, they should make notes about the corrections on their personal copy of the tax return and keep it for their records.
- Do respond to a disputed notice. If a taxpayer doesn’t agree with the IRS, they should mail a letter explaining why they dispute the notice. They should mail it to the address on the contact stub included with the IRS notice or letter. The taxpayer should include information and documents for the IRS to review when considering the dispute. People should allow at least 30 days for the IRS to respond. You may wish to consult with a tax professional to ensure you respond properly and in a way that protects your rights.
- Do remember there is usually no need to call the IRS. If a taxpayer must contact the IRS by phone, they should use the number in the upper right-hand corner of the IRS notice. The taxpayer should have a copy of their tax return and letter when calling the agency.
- Do avoid scams. The IRS will never contact a taxpayer using social media or a text message on your phone. The first contact from the IRS usually comes in the U.S mail. Taxpayers who are unsure if they owe money to the IRS can view their tax account information on IRS.gov.
Lead Tax Attorney, The W Tax Group