Seven Things to Do When an IRS Letter Arrives
The IRS mails millions of letters to taxpayers every year for many reasons. Here are seven simple suggestions on how individuals can handle a letter or notice from the IRS:
- Don’t panic. Simply responding will take care of most IRS letters and notices.
- Read the entire letter carefully. Most letters deal with a specific issue and provide specific instructions on what to do.
- Compare it with the tax return. If a letter indicates a changed or corrected tax return, the taxpayer should review the information and compare it with their original return.
- Only reply if necessary. There is usually no need to reply to a letter unless specifically instructed to do so, or to make a payment.
- Respond timely. Taxpayers should respond to a letter with which they do not agree. They should mail a letter explaining why they disagree. They should mail their response to the address listed at the bottom of the letter. The taxpayer should include information and documents for the IRS to consider. The taxpayer should allow at least 30 days for a response. When a specific date is listed in the letter, there are two main reasons taxpayers should respond by that date:
- To minimize additional interest and penalty charges.
- To preserve appeal rights if the taxpayers doesn’t agree.
- Don’t call. For most letters, there is no need to call the IRS or make an appointment at a taxpayer assistance center. If a call seems necessary, the taxpayer can use the phone number in the upper right-hand corner of the letter. They should have a copy of the tax return and letter on hand when calling.
- Keep the letter. A taxpayer should keep copies of any IRS letters or notices received with their tax records.
Alfredo Gaxiola has worked on numerous IRS problem cases and has successfully settled with the IRS to release liens on houses, bank accounts and wages and, if needed, setting a payment installment plan that is not burdensome for the client. He has conducted appeals before the U.S. Tax Court and obtained favorable resolutions in reducing the tax debt of his clients. Mr. Gaxiola served as Treasurer of Camara de Empresarios Latinos, one of the largest and strongest Hispanic organizations in the city of Houston. He has conducted financial and accounting seminars for the Houston Small Business Development Corporation, as well.
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