Did You Get A Letter Or Notice From The IRS?

First of all, DON’T panic until you read the letter or notice. Every year, the IRS sends millions of notices and letters to taxpayers, and some of them, believe it or not, are benign.

Next, you should IMMEDIATELY forward the letter/notice to your tax preparer.  They are much more accustomed to these notices/letters and can provide guidance as to what must be done, if anything.  What you do not want to do, is keep the letter/notice to yourself.  There may be time constraints that must be complied with and failure to do so could result unfavorably to you.

If you receive a letter, keep the following thoughts in mind:

  • If you are requested to send in additional documentation, do so.
  • If there is a change in the calculation of tax, compare the information in the notice to your tax return. There may or may not be additional tax due.  Further, you may or may not need to do anything.
  • If you find that you might have erroneously omitted something, work to resolve the omission by paying additional tax by responding to the notice. Don’t prolong the outstanding tax as additional penalties and/or interest could apply.
  • If you do not agree with the correction made by the IRS, respond as soon as possible with detailed information as to why you disagree. Read the notice for instructions of where to send this information.
  • If you have questions, note that there will be a phone number on the letter/notice that can be used to contact the IRS with regard to the matter. When calling, we suggest calling early morning to avoid delays.  Have the notice/letter and a copy of your return in front of you when you call.
  • Keep copies of all correspondence from and to the IRS.
  • When corresponding by mail, we suggest that you send your correspondence by certified mail as proof of mailing.

If you think that your letter/notice from the IRS is suspicious, call the IRS.  Don’t fall prey to scammers.  And as importantly, watch emails, phone calls and faxes claiming to be from the IRS as they don’t use any of these methods to make the initial contact.  If in doubt, call the IRS about your account.  Protect your identity.

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Kay Sowa

About the Author

Kay Sowa is a paralegal in the Trusts and Estates Group at Capehart & Scatchard, P.A. She is an IRS Enrolled Agent as well as a Certified Trust and Financial Advisor. She oversees the trust and estate administration practice for the firm. She is an accomplished author and lecturer who has frequently spoken on behalf of a number of organizations including the National Business Institute and the Institute of Paralegal Education.

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