Each year, the IRS sends millions of notices and letters to taxpayers for a variety of reasons. Here are ten things to know in case one shows up in your mailbox.
1. Don’t panic. You often only need to respond to take care of a notice. In most cases it is not due to an error the tax preparer made, so don’t assume they did something wrong.
2. There are many reasons why the IRS may send a letter or notice. It typically is about a specific issue on your federal tax return or tax account. A notice may tell you about changes to your account or ask you for more information. It could also tell you that you must make a payment.
3. Each notice has specific instructions about 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 you do, review the information and compare it with your original return.
5. If you agree with the notice, you usually don’t need to reply unless it gives you other instructions or you need to make a payment.
6. If you do not agree with the notice, it’s 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 upper left-hand corner of the notice. Allow at least 30 days for a response.
7. You shouldn’t have to call or visit an IRS office for most notices. If you do have questions, call the phone number in the upper right-hand corner of the notice. Have a copy of your tax return and the notice with you when you call. This will help the IRS answer your questions.
8. Keep copies of any notices you receive with your other tax records.
9. The IRS sends letters and notices by mail. We do not contact people by email or social media to ask for personal or financial information.
10. For more on this topic visit IRS.gov. Click on the link ‘Responding to a Notice’ at the bottom left of the home page. Also, see Publication 594, The IRS Collection Process.