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If you receive a letter or notice from the IRS

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The IRS sends millions of letters and notices to taxpayers for a variety of reasons. Many of them can be managed without calling or visiting an IRS office. Here’s what you need to know:

Reasons you might receive a notice or letter from the IRS

The IRS sends notices and letters for a number of reasons, such as:

  • You have a balance owing.
  • You have the right to a more or less important refund.
  • He has a question on your tax return.
  • He needs to verify your identity.
  • He needs more information.
  • It changed your feedback.
  • He must inform you of any delays in processing your return.

Every notice or letter contains valuable information

It is very important that you carefully read the notice or letter from the IRS. If the IRS has changed your tax return, compare the information provided in the notice or letter with the information on your original return.

Explain the reason for the contact

The notice will explain why it was sent and also give you instructions on how to deal with the issue. If your review or letter requires a response by a specific date, there are two main reasons you’ll want to comply:

  • To minimize additional interest and penalty charges.
  • To preserve your rights of appeal if you do not agree.

Usually no response is needed

If you agree with the correction of your account, generally no response is required, unless a payment is due or the notice decides otherwise.

Reply as rdemand

If you do not agree with the correction made by the IRS, it is still important to respond as requested. You must send a written explanation of why you disagree and include any documents and information you want the IRS to consider with the lower tear-out portion of the notice. Send the information to the IRS address located in the upper left corner of the notice. Allow at least 30 days for a response.

Pay as much as you can

If you cannot pay the full amount you owe, you should pay as much as possible to try to avoid or reduce the penalties incurred. You can pay online or request an online payment agreement or offer in compromise.

Usually no need to visit an IRS office

Most correspondence can be processed without calling or visiting an IRS office. However, if you have any questions, call the phone number at the top right of the notice. Have a copy of your tax return and correspondence available when you call to help the IRS respond to your request.

Keep a copy of notices and letters

It is important to keep a copy of all notices or letters with your tax records. You may need to review these documents at a later date.

IRS notices and letters are sent by post

The IRS does not correspond by email regarding taxpayer accounts or tax returns. If you search for your notice or letter on the IRS website and it does not return any results, or if you think the notice or letter looks suspicious, contact the IRS at 800-829-1040 or report it on the Report Phishing on the IRS .gov page. You can find the notice (CP) or letter (LTR) number at the top or bottom right of your correspondence.

Contact phone number is provided

A contact phone number is provided in the upper right corner of the notice or letter. Typically, you only need to contact the IRS if you disagree with the information, have a balance owing, or need to submit additional information.

This column is for information only and is not advice. Taxes are complicated and mistakes can be costly. Consider consulting with tax professionals.

Norm Grill, CPA, is the managing partner of Grill & Partners, LLC, chartered accountants and consultants to private companies and high net worth individuals, with offices in Fairfield and Darien, 203-254-3880.


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