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Eight Tips for Taxpayers Who Receive an IRS Notice

IRS Summertime Tax Tip 2012-21, August 22, 2012

Receiving a notice from the Internal Revenue Service is no cause for alarm. Every year the IRS sends millions of letters and notices to taxpayers. In the event one shows up in your mailbox, here are eight things you should know.

  1. Don’t panic. Many of these letters can be dealt with very simply.

  2. There are a number of reasons the IRS sends notices to taxpayers. The notice may request payment of taxes, notify you of a change to your account or request additional information. The notice you receive normally covers a very specific issue about your account or tax return.

  3. Each letter and notice offers specific instructions on what you need to do to satisfy the inquiry.

  4. If you receive a notice about a correction to your tax return, you should review the correspondence and compare it with the information on your return.

  5. If you agree with the correction to your account, usually no reply is necessary unless a payment is due.

  6. If you do not agree with the correction the IRS made, it is important that you respond as requested. Respond to the IRS in writing to explain why you disagree. Include any documents and information you wish the IRS to consider, along with the bottom tear-off portion of the notice. Mail the information to the IRS address shown in the lower left corner of the notice. Allow at least 30 days for a response from the IRS.

  7. Most correspondence can be handled without calling or visiting an IRS office. However, if you have questions, call the telephone number in the upper right corner of the notice. When you call, have a copy of your tax return and the correspondence available.

  8. Keep copies of any correspondence with your tax records.

For more information about IRS notices and bills, see Publication 594, The IRS Collection Process. For information about penalties and interest charges, see Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax for Individuals. Both publications are available at IRS.gov or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

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Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 17-May-2013