What to do if you Receive a Letter from the IRS

As you know all initial communication from the IRS will be in the form of a letter delivered to you by the US Post Office. The IRS sends out letters for reasons other than an audit. For example, the IRS routinely sends out letters advising a taxpayer that a balance is owed, that the refund shown on a return has been adjusted, that additional information is needed or that the taxpayer’s identity needs to be verified. What should you do if you get a letter from the IRS?

  1. Open the envelope immediately! Do not ignore the letter as most taxpayers do. Some rights are time limited and failure to act will cause the loss of these rights.
  1. Do not panic. Not all letters from the IRS are bad news. The letter may be providing you important information about your tax return or your account.
  1. Read the letter carefully. Do you agree with its contents? If so, no additional action is necessary. If you agree, there is no need to call the IRS.
  1. Take action. If you do not agree with the letter, then follow the instructions provided in the letter.
  1. Act in a timely manner. Comply with the deadlines imposed by the IRS in the letter and resolve the issue as quickly as possible. This minimizes the interest and penalties which may apply and preserves any rights you may be entitled to.
  1. Pay amounts due. If you agree with the balance, pay as quickly as possible. If you are unable to pay the full amount, pay as much as you can. If you cannot pay at all, reach out to the IRS for a payment arrangement.
  1. Keep a copy of the letter. You may need to access this letter in the future.
  1. Avoid scams. Make sure the letter is really coming from the IRS.
  1. Call a professional. Understand that there are times when the do-it-yourself method is not in your best interest. If you are unsure, do not speak to the IRS on your own. The IRS is not really your friend!


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