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After Tax Season: What To Do If You Receive a Letter from the IRS

Posted on May 04, 2015

close-up of business forms, calculator and pen tip

April 15th has come and gone, but what should you do if you receive a letter from the IRS?

A recent "Tax Tip" from the IRS discussed recommendations for taxpayers who receive a notice or letter from the IRS. We share their recommendations with you here.

1. Do not panic. In many instances, the notice may be taken care of simply by responding to it.

2. An IRS notice typically will be about your federal tax return or tax account. It will be about a specific issue, such as changes to your account. It may ask you for more information. It could also explain that you owe tax and that you need to pay the amount that is due.

3. Each notice has specific instructions, so read it carefully. It will tell you what you need to do.

4. You may get a notice that states the IRS has made a change or correction to your tax return. If this is the case, review the information and compare it with your original return.

5. If you agree with the notice, you may not need to reply unless the notice gives you other instructions or you need to make a payment.

6. If you do not agree with the notice, it is important for you to respond. You should write a letter to explain why you disagree. Include any information and documents you want the IRS to consider. Mail your reply with the bottom tear-off portion of the notice. Send it to the address shown in the notice to receive replies. Maintain a copy of your reply together with copies of the documents or other information that you attached to your reply. We recommend that you mail the reply by certified mail. The IRS suggests that you allow at least thirty (30) days for a response.

7. For most notices, it is not necessary to visit an IRS office. If you do have questions, call the phone number in the upper right-hand corner of the notice. You may have to wait on hold, so be prepared. If you can call early in the morning you may minimize your wait time. Have a copy of your tax return, the notice and your reply with you when you call.

8. Always keep copies of any notices you receive together with your reply and any other documents or information you provide the IRS. If the matter is assigned to a different person or office, it may be most efficient for you to fax your file copy to the newly assigned officer who may not have access to your previously mailed information.

9. Be alert for tax scams. The IRS sends letters and notices by mail. The IRS does not contact people by email or social media to ask for personal or financial information. You can check the IRSwebsite for information about various scams here.

A current telephone scam involves callers who claim to be employees of the IRS. The callers use fake names and fake IRS identification badge numbers to sound convincing. Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and must pay promptly via debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are then threatened with arrest or other harmful consequence. If the scammer’s call is sent to an answering machine, it is common for them to leave an “urgent” callback request.

Note that the IRS will never:

  • Call to demand immediate payment, nor will the IRS call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill;
  • Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe;
  • Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a debit card;
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone; or
  • Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

These tips offer good advice for those receiving a letter or notice from the IRSyear round. If you have lingering questions or concerns about any case involving the IRS, contact us to determine an appropriate course of action.

The IRS regularly issues "Tax Tips" on their site and through social media. Click here to view all tips.

David M.Mosier

David M. Mosier

David M. Mosier's practice includes business and tax transactions, retirement benefits, designing and drafting of employee pension and welfare benefit plans, and more.

dmosier@kmgslaw.com • 814-923-4878

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