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Understanding Your IRS Notice or Letter

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Your notice or letter will explain the reason for the contact and give you instructions on how to handle the issue.

If you agree with the information, there is no need to contact us.

Learn more about your notice or letter

Notices for Individuals Notices for Businesses
 

Why was I notified by the IRS?

The IRS sends notices and letters for the following reasons:

  • You have a balance due.
  • You are due a larger or smaller refund.
  • We have a question about your tax return.
  • We need to verify your identity.
  • We need additional information.
  • We changed your return.
  • We need to notify you of delays in processing your return.

Next Steps

Read
Each notice or letter contains a lot of valuable information, so it’s very important that you read it carefully. If we changed your tax return, compare the information we provided in the notice or letter with the information in your original return. 

Respond
If your notice or letter requires a response by a specific date, there are 2 main reasons you’ll want to comply:

  • to minimize additional interest and penalty charges.
  • to preserve your appeal rights if you don’t agree.

Pay
Pay as much as you can, even if you can’t pay the full amount you owe. You can pay online or apply for an Online Payment Agreement or Offer in Compromise. Visit our payments page for more information.

Keep a copy of your notice or letter
It’s important to keep a copy of all notices or letters with your tax records. You may need these documents at a later date.

Contact us
We provide our contact phone number on the top right-hand corner of the notice or letter. Typically, you only need to contact us if you don’t agree with the information, if we requested additional information, or if you have a balance due. You can also write to us at the address in the notice or letter. If you write, allow at least 30 days for our response.

Common Notification Questions

Where can I find my notice or letter number?
The notice (CP) or letter (LTR) number is located on the top right hand corner of your correspondence.

What if my notice or letter isn't listed on this page?
We will continue to add more correspondence to our website. If your notice or letter isn't listed on this page and you have questions, call us at the number on the top right-hand corner of your correspondence.

What if my notice or letter looks suspicious?
Please visit our Report Phishing page if you receive a notice or letter that looks suspicious and was designed to appear as though it came from the IRS. You can also call 1-800-829-1040.We never ask taxpayers for personal information via e-mail or social media.

Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 20-Apr-2016