Most people tend to panic when they receive a notice from the IRS. Many, many people think that by stuffing that notice under the mattress, the problem will go away. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. The best way to address a notice from the IRS is to deal with it immediately and head on. Here are some tips for what to do when you receive an IRS notice.
1. Don’t panic, and don’t shred it. Most IRS notices can be dealt with pretty simply. Not quickly, but simply.
2. Be sure you understand WHAT the notice is for. The IRS sends all sorts of notices — bills for overdue taxes, requests for you to file a missing tax return, to request additional information about something, notify you of a pending deadline, etc. When the IRS sends a letter via certified mail, it’s giving you legal notice that they intend to levy you, file a lien against you, or that they will examine or audit you or your business. The notice will ALWAYS thoroughly explain why you are receiving it. READ IT.
3. Every notice from the IRS will explain what you need to do with it. If they want extra information from you, it will explain what information they need. If it’s a bill, well, then they just want your money.
4. If you receive a notice about a correction to your tax return, you should review the correspondence and compare it with the information on your return.
5. If you agree with the correction to your account, usually no reply is necessary unless a payment is due. The IRS will just “fix” the issue and then send you a bill (if one is needed).
6. If you do not agree with the correction the IRS made, it is important that you respond as requested. IRS notices are typically time bound and failing to respond in time can cause you to forfeit some of your rights/options. Respond to the IRS in writing to explain why you disagree. Include any documents and information you wish the IRS to consider, along with the bottom tear-off portion of the notice. Mail the information to the IRS address shown in the lower left corner of the notice. Allow at least 30 days (sometimes it can take up to 90 days) for a response from the IRS.
7. 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 corner of the notice. When you call, have a copy of your tax return and the correspondence available.
8. Keep copies of any correspondence with your tax records. Also keep record of who you talk to, including their IRS employee ID number (they’re required to give it to you), and detailed notes of your conversation.
Don’t understand your notice?
If you receive a notice that you don’t understand or don’t agree with, then obviously consider speaking to a professional (such as ourselves). Feel free to email us via the address below in the footer. We can review a copy of your IRS notice, tell you what it means, and tell what you need to do about it, in simple terms.