10 Things to Know about IRS Notices and Letters
It’s not what you want to find in your mailbox. A note or letter from the IRS can elicit panic, fear and anxiety for the recipient. Of course, you assume the worst – that this must be a dreaded audit. Instead of going into panic mode, take a deep breath and relax, it’s very likely not as bad as you might think! Here are 10 things to keep in mind if you receive a letter or notice from the IRS:
1. Stay calm and breathe: Most often, a letter or notice from the IRS only requires a written response from you. The IRS may need simple clarification on a small detail that requires very little work or worry on your part.
2. You will be given directions to follow: The IRS is very good at being clear about what they are looking for and giving taxpayers instructions on how to proceed. Follow their instructions carefully and you will be just fine.
3. There are many reasons for possible correspondence: There are countless reasons the IRS may make contact with you and most likely, it is not to request an audit. It is much more likely that the IRS is inquiring about a specific issue on your return, requesting a payment or letting you know of a change to your account.
4. Correction: If you receive notice from the IRS that they found and error on your return and corrected it, you should spend some time reviewing your return and make sure that you agree with the IRS’s change.
5. What if you agree? If you agree with the change that the IRS has proposed, then your next step is simple. You do not even have to respond (unless you owe the IRS money).
6. What if you disagree? If you do not agree with the correction that the IRS has made to your recent return, then the key action you need to take is crafting and submitting a response. You should write to the IRS and explain why you disagree, including any/all relevant supporting documentation. The IRS will give you a deadline for responding, which is usually at least 30 days.
7. Meetings are rare: It is very unlikely that you will have to meet with an IRS representative about the notice or letter you received. Most correspondence is done in writing. If you have questions, there will be a phone number to call listed on the correspondence that you receive (usually in the upper right-hand corner of the notice).
8. Keep good records: It is always best to keep copies of the correspondence you receive from the IRS as well as any response you send back to them. Make sure that you also keep copies of all documentation you choose to send as well.
9. Beware of scams: If you receive a letter or notification from the IRS, it will be delivered by mail to your home address (or the address listed on your return). The IRS will not make contact by email or other method of contact. If you think that you are being contacted by someone pretending to be the IRS, report this to the IRS as soon as possible.
10. Questions?: If you have questions about the notice you have received, you can contact the IRS by phone or visit their website (http://www.irs.gov/). You may also decide to seek help from a reputable tax firm like Success Tax Relief (877-825-1179).