Understanding your LT39 notice

What this notice is about

We’re required by law to remind you in writing about your overdue balance and any missing returns.

Questions about your LT39 notice?

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What you need to do

  • Read your notice carefully: Follow the instructions on your notice. If you’re already working with us to resolve the account, no action is required.
  • Pay the balance due on or before the due date on the notice.
  • If you’ve already paid the balance, call the telephone number listed on the notice.
  • If you can’t pay the balance due: and you are current with your filing obligations: See the frequently asked questions below.
  • File missing tax returns (if any): If your notice indicates you have missing tax returns, file the missing returns as soon as possible. See How do I file my missing returns?

Frequently asked questions

What if I can’t pay the balance in full? (added May 1, 2024)

Pay what you can now; any payments will reduce the amount of interest and applicable penalties added to the remaining balance in the future.

You can enter into a payment plan to pay any remaining balance on your account over time.

If you owe less than $50,000, you may be able to set up an installment agreement using the Online payment agreement tool, which is the fastest way to get an installment agreement approved. If you can’t apply online, call us at the toll-free number on your notice, or mail in a payment plan PDF request.

If you are experiencing a financial hardship

In some circumstances, we may determine that you can’t pay any of your tax debt. In these cases, we can report your account as currently not collectible to temporarily delay collection until your financial condition improves. Putting your account in currently not collectible status doesn’t stop penalties and interest from being charged and it doesn’t mean the debt goes away - it means the IRS has determined you can’t afford to pay the debt at this time.

If you believe collection should temporarily be delayed on your account, please contact us and be ready to discuss your income, expenses, and owned assets. We may request proof of your financial hardship.

Under certain circumstances, an offer in compromise allows you to settle your tax debt for less than the full amount you owe. This may be a legitimate option if you can't pay your full tax liability, or doing so creates a financial hardship. Access the Offer In Compromise Pre- Qualifier Tool to see if you qualify for an offer in compromise.

Penalties and interest

In general, we charge penalties on your account when you don’t pay your tax in full by the return due date (usually April 15), or if you’ve not made sufficient estimated tax payments (if required). For more information on penalties, see Penalties.

Interest on the total amount you owe generally begins being charged daily from the return due date. For more information on interest, see Interest.

What happens if I don’t respond to this notice or don’t pay? (updated May 1, 2024)

We may enforce collection action to collect the amount owed including the filing of a Notice of Federal Tax Lien, and/or garnishment of your wages, bank accounts and other income sources. A lien is a public notice to your creditors that the government has a right to your interests in your current assets and any assets you acquire after we file the lien. It can affect your ability to get credit.

If the amount you owe includes a shared responsibility payment, the law prohibits us from using liens or levies to collect that portion of your liability.

The U.S. Department of State may revoke your passport or decline to issue or renew a passport if you have seriously delinquent tax debt totaling more than $62,000. For more information, visit IRS.gov/passports.

How do I file my missing returns? (added May 1, 2024)

Read your notice carefully to identify which tax returns are missing from IRS records. You may need to file returns from multiple tax years.

You can find answers to many of your questions and get help preparing your return at Filing.

What if I already filed a return reported as missing? (added May 1, 2024)

If it’s been over 10 weeks since you sent us the return, send a signed copy of it to us again. If you find that one or more of your returns were incorrectly reported as missing, please contact us using the toll-free phone number on your notice.

Based on my income, do I need to file? (added May 1, 2024)

Use the Do I need to file a tax return? tool to verify that you don’t meet the filing requirements for the tax years involved. If the tool indicates you’re not required to file a return, but the notice indicates you are, please call the toll-free number on your notice.

What if I'm due a refund? (added May 1, 2024)

Based on your income and other factors, you may still be required to file even if you’re due a refund. Also, to receive the refund, you must file a tax return within three years of the original return due date, or within 2 years of the date you full paid the tax, if applicable.

What if I don’t agree or have already taken corrective action?

If you don’t agree with this notice, call us immediately at the number listed at the top of your notice. If you’ve already paid or arranged for an installment agreement, you should still call us to make sure your account reflects this.

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