Understanding your CP71S notice


Notice: Historical Content

This is an archival or historical document and may not reflect current law, policies or procedures.

What this notice is about

We sent you this notice to remind you that you still owe a balance due on one of your tax accounts and to explain what you can do to resolve it.

What you need to do

  • Pay your unpaid balance. Interest and applicable penalties stop being added as soon as you pay your balance in full. Pay the amount you owe online. It's fast, secure, and you'll receive instant confirmation of your payment. Sign in to your account to view the amount you owe. 
  • Mail your payment in the envelope we sent if you can't pay online. Include the bottom part of the notice to make sure we correctly credit your account.
  • Pay as much as you can now even if you can't pay the full amount you owe. Set up a payment plan to pay the remaining balance over time. You may qualify for a payment plan by applying online through the Online Payment Agreement Tool. You'll receive immediate notification if your payment plan is approved.
  • Mail your installment agreementPDF or call us at the toll-free number on your notice if you can't apply online.
  • IRS may temporarily delay collection if you're facing financial hardship until your situation improves.
  • 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.

What if I don't respond?

  • We may assign your account to a private collection agency. Additional information is available on the IRS private debt collection (PDC) webpage.
  • If you don't pay the amount due in full or establish a payment plan, we may file a Notice of Federal Tax Lien notifying your creditors we have a claim against your property, subject to any applicable Collection Due Process rights. Click here to learn more about federal tax liens.
  • Interest continues to accrue on your account and additional penalties may apply.

Frequently asked questions

Yes, interest accrues on your unpaid balance until you pay it in full. Learn more about the interest accruing on your unpaid balance.

Yes, you receive a late payment penalty. This penalty accrues until the balance is paid. Learn more about your penalty.

Tax professionals who are independent from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) may be able to help you. Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITCs) can represent low-income persons before the IRS or in court. LITCs can also help persons who speak English as a second language. Any services provided by an LITC must be for free or a small fee. See if you qualify for help from a Low Income Taxpayer Clinic.

Payments you make can take up to 21 days to post on your account. If you paid your balance in full within the last 21 days, please disregard the CP71S you received. Sign in to your online account and see "View Your Tax Account" to learn how to see your balance and payment history.

If you have an approved installment agreement, continue making payments per that agreement. If you applied for an installment agreement, but haven't been approved, pay as much of your balance as you can now to stop additional interest and applicable penalties from adding to your balance.

The Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act generally prohibits the State Department from issuing or renewing a passport to a taxpayer with seriously delinquent tax debt. Additional information on passport certification is available at IRS.gov/passports.

If you disagree with this notice, call the toll-free phone number located on your notice. So we can best assist you, please have your paperwork (e.g., such as information indicating you've paid this debt or don't owe the tax) ready when you call.

Helpful information

Tips for Future Filing and Payment Compliance

  • If you don't pay enough tax during the year, you may have to pay a penalty. To avoid penalties and having future refunds offset, consider adjusting your withholding. If you don't pay your tax through withholding, or don't pay enough tax through withholding, you might have to pay estimated tax. For more information, see Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated TaxPDF.
  • Consider filing your taxes electronically. Filing online can help you avoid mistakes and find credits and deductions that you may qualify for. In many cases you can file for free. Learn more about e-file.

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