Each year the IRS sends out millions of letters to taxpayers to either provide notice of a tax credit or of taxes due. Whatever the reason for receiving one, read on for nine tips to keep your cool when responding to the IRS.
It’s a common automatic response to panic or experience a feeling of dread when we receive a piece of mail sent to us by the IRS. Don’t let this dread cause you to ignore the letter and deal with the consequences later. Instead, by remaining aware that receiving notices is normal and requires only a simple response, you can remain calm as you review what is expected of you.
Before taking any action, double check that the letter is authentic and is indeed from the IRS. Be aware that the IRS sends notices and letters by mail. They never contact taxpayers about their tax account or tax return by email or phone call. If you receive a letter that looks suspicious, you may call and report it directly to the IRS.
There are variety of reasons why the IRS sends correspondence, and it will typically cover a very specific issue about your account or tax return. Notices will likely be about notification on the changes of the taxpayer’s account, taxes owed, or simply ask you to provide an additional piece of information for clarification.
Deal only on the specific issue indicated on the letter. If you receive a notice advising you that the IRS has corrected your tax return, you should review the information and compare it with the original return.
If you agree with the correction to your account, then usually no reply is necessary unless a payment is required, or the notice specifically instructed you reply. You should also note the correction for your own records.
If you do not agree with the correction, it is important that you respond as requested. A written explanation indicating why you disagree is necessary. Send your response through mail to the address found at the bottom of the IRS notice. Include any information and documents you want the IRS to consider and allow at least 30 days for a response.
You should be able to resolve most notices that you receive without calling or visiting an IRS office. But if it seems a call is necessary, use the phone number indicated on the IRS notice. Be sure to have a copy of your tax return and the notice with you when you call.
It is important that you keep copies of any correspondences you receive with your other income tax records. You may need it later.
Don’t delay or procrastinate in reading or acting on the notification. Most notices have a clear and specific set of instructions. Read the letter again if necessary to get clear on why you are being contacted, what exactly are the next steps, and the deadline for your response. Deal with it a quickly as possible so you can put it out of your mind and get back to the more enjoyable aspects of your life!
If you still crave more clarification, the IRS website contains all the important information you need to know. You can find similar steps outlined in one of their articles here.
Dealing with the IRS can sometimes be unnerving, but it doesn’t have to be. Even if you are confronted with an intimidating tax issue, professionals such as tax lawyers or accountants are channels of support that can take on the heavy lifting for you.
If you need help with a IRS resolution please send us an email.
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