Why You Might Get a Letter from the IRS, and What to Do
Don’t panic: It isn’t necessarily bad news. But you may need to deal with it.
Getting a letter actually addressed to you personally is becoming a thing of the past, what with email and social media taking over a lot of our correspondence.
But a letter addressed to you from the IRS? Your first reaction may well be to wonder what you did wrong.
The IRS doesn’t always deliver bad news by mail. The agency may want to inform you that you have a larger refund than you expected. Or that it simply needs some additional information or some extra time (if the processing of your return is delayed). Sometimes, you don’t have to take action on the notice.
But sometimes you do. The IRS will send you a letter through the U.S. Mail if:
- You owe more than you submitted,
- You need to answer a query about your return, or
- You must verify your identity or provide more information.
If you get a message that claims to be from the IRS in email or on social media, it’s not. The agency only communicates with taxpayers via U.S. Mail. Go to this page to see how to report the fraudulent note.
Letters from the IRS, though, need to be responded to quickly. If you are given a deadline, you must answer within that timeframe. If you don’t, you may incur additional interest and penalty charges. You may also put your right to appeal in jeopardy.
Money you owe needs to be submitted as soon as possible. If you absolutely can’t pay in full, at least pay what you can. Payments can be made online. You can also request an Online Payment Agreement or Offer in Compromise. We can tell you more about these options.
Here are some other tips from the IRS:
Read through the entire letter at least once and make sure you understand what is being said. Let us know if you are at all unsure of the situation. Your return may have been changed by the IRS, in which case you should compare the modifications to your original return. The agency may also believe that the return was submitted fraudulently and not by you. You’ll be asked to verify your identity if identity theft is suspected.
Contact the IRS immediately if you don’t agree with its findings or if you have questions. There should be a phone number in the upper right-hand corner of the letter. Before you call, gather together your return and any other documents that relate to it. You can also respond in a letter of your own, but know that it can take at least 30 days to get a response from the agency.
Of course, you will also be contacted by the IRS through the U.S. Mail if you’ve been selected for an audit. Again, this doesn’t mean that the agency suspects that there are errors in your tax return. Some taxpayers are selected randomly. You don’t want to go through an audit alone. We have partners that have dealt with the IRS and know how this process will work, and can assist you throughout.
So whether you get an audit notice from the IRS or any other kind of correspondence that concerns you, let us help.