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The IRS Sent Me a Letter – What Should I Do?

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The April 15th filing deadline is tremendously stressful for most people.  The act of getting everything together in a short period of time and hoping you did not miss something keeps many people up at night.  This is followed by the fear that you might owe the IRS money when you file your return.

The truth is that both of these are VERY easy to make go away but because so many people are paralyzed by fear, change is often difficult for them.  If you have not reached out to me before, this is the time because I can make sure not only to virtually eliminate the task of getting everything together but can also make sure that you are not missing deductions.

So now your return is filed, you are sleeping well at night, and that you are out of the woods.  Then that letter shows up in your mail. The fact is that each year the IRS mails millions of notices and they do not always mean that you owe additional taxes. Here’s what you should do if you receive a notice from the IRS:

  1. Don’t ignore it. You can respond to most IRS notices quickly and easily. And it’s important that you reply promptly. Better yet – have us do it.  We have a lot of experience with the IRS and not exactly what to write and what to send to them.
  2. IRS notices usually deal with a specific issue about your tax return or tax account. For example, it may say the IRS has corrected an error on your tax return. Or it may ask you for more information. If you have ignored previous letters it may be telling you that they are going to seize your bank accounts!
  3. Read it carefully and follow the instructions about what you need to do.
  4. If it says that the IRS corrected your tax return, review the information in the notice and compare it to your tax return.
    If you agree, you don’t need to reply unless a payment is due. If you don’t agree, it’s important that you respond to the IRS. Write a letter that explains why you don’t agree. Make sure to include information and any documents you want the IRS to consider. Include the bottom tear-off portion of the notice with your letter. Mail your reply to the IRS at the address shown in the lower left part of the notice. We highly recommend sending everything by certified mail return receipt requested so that you have proof of mailing your response. Allow at least 30 days for a response from the IRS.
  5. You can handle most notices without calling or visiting the IRS. In fact, we do not recommend doing this except in very rare occasions.  If you do have questions and want to handle this yourself, call the phone number in the upper right corner of the notice. Make sure you have a copy of your tax return and the notice with you when you call and be prepared to wait long periods of time. Also please understand that you cannot rely on any advice you receive from the IRS if you are audited!
  6. Keep copies of any notices you get from the IRS.
  7. Don’t fall for phone and phishing email scams that use the IRS as a lure. The IRS first contacts people about unpaid taxes by mail – not by phone. The IRS does not contact taxpayers by email, text or social media about their tax return or tax account.

There are a LOT of pitfalls in dealing with the IRS.  Remember that their job is to attempt to collect more tax from you – maybe more than you actually owe, along with interest and penalties.

This is something that you really should not do yourself and we HIGHLY recommend you consult your tax professional to help you with.

Adopted from 7/3/14 Tax Tips from the IRS


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