Did You Receive A Letter From The IRS?

Are you nervous to open the envelope to review the contents? Before your blood pressure rises, take a breath and consider these things to do as suggested by the IRS:

Individual Taxpayers: Seven Things to Do When an IRS Letter Arrives

The IRS mails millions of letters to taxpayers every year for many reasons. Here are seven simple suggestions on how individuals can handle a letter or notice from the IRS:

1. Don’t panic. Simply responding will take care of most IRS letters and notices.
2. Read the entire letter carefully. Most letters deal with a specific issue and provide specific instructions on what to do.
3. Compare it with the tax return. If a letter indicates a changed or corrected tax return, the taxpayer should review the information and compare it with their original return.
4. Only reply if necessary. There is usually no need to reply to a letter unless specifically instructed to do so, or to make a payment.
5. Respond timely. Taxpayers should respond to a letter with which they do not agree. They should mail a letter explaining why they disagree. They should mail their response to the address listed at the bottom of the letter. The taxpayer should include information and documents for the IRS to consider. The taxpayer should allow at least 30 days for a response.

When a specific date is listed in the letter, there are two main reasons taxpayers should respond by that date:

  • To minimize additional interest and penalty charges.
  • To preserve appeal rights if the taxpayers doesn’t agree.

6. Don’t call. For most letters, there is no need to call the IRS or make an appointment at a taxpayer assistance center. If a call seems necessary, the taxpayer can use the phone number in the upper right-hand corner of the letter. They should have a copy of the tax return and letter on hand when calling.
7. Keep the letter. A taxpayer should keep copies of any IRS letters or notices received with their tax records.

KEEP BREATHING – IT MAY NOT BE AS BAD AS YOU THINK!

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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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