In our Accounting practice, we received many letters and notices from the Internal Revenue Service, and clients get anxious in these situations. My job is to revise and provide guidance on how to respond to these notices promptly.
Here are some do’s and don’ts if you receive a letter from the IRS:
- Don’t ignore it. Most IRS letters and notices are about federal tax returns or tax accounts. Each note 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.
- Don’t reply unless instructed to do so. There is usually no need for a taxpayer to respond to a notice unless specifically instructed. On the other hand, taxpayers who owe should reply with a payment. IRS.gov has information about payment options.
- 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 on time 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 it and compare it with the original return. If the taxpayer agrees, they should make notes about the corrections on their copy of the tax return and keep it for their records.
- Please respond to a disputed notice. If a taxpayer disagrees with the IRS, they should mail a letter explaining why they dispute the notice. They should send it to the address on the contact stub included with the notice. 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.
- 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 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 text messages. The first contact from the IRS usually comes in the mail. Taxpayers who are unsure if they owe money to the IRS can view their tax account information on IRS.gov.
If you are one of my clients, please remember to send me a copy of any letter you receive from the IRS for my revision. I will provide you guidance on how to respond to the notice, and most of the time, I will take care of these responses on your behalf as long as we have a proper Power of Attorney filed with the IRS.
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