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What to Do When You Get a Letter from the IRS

Tax Tip Tuesday Financial Blog Post

The IRS mails millions of letters to taxpayers every year for many reasons. Here are seven things to keep in mind when you receive a notice or letter from the IRS:

  1. Don’t panic. Simply responding will take care of most notices or letters from the IRS.
  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, you should review the information and compare it with your 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. You should mail a letter explaining why you disagree and include information and documents for the IRS to consider. Mail everything to the address listed at the bottom of the letter. Keep in mind that it could be over 30 days before you get a response.
    When a specific date is listed in the letter, there are two main reasons you should respond by that date:

      • to minimize additional interest and penalty charges.
      • to preserve appeal rights if you don’t agree.
  6. Don’t call. For most letters from the IRS, there is no need to call or make an appointment at a taxpayer assistance center. If a call seems necessary, you can use the phone number in the upper right-hand corner of the letter. You will need to have a copy of the tax return and letter on hand when calling.
  7. Keep the letter. Keep copies of any IRS contacts you have received with your tax records.


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