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What to Do if You Get an IRS Tax Notice

May 24, 2013

One afternoon you check your mail, and there it is, right in front of you.  It’s stark white envelope with the big, bold words, “INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE” staring back at you.  Your heart skips a beat.

Many of us shudder at the thought of receiving an IRS notice, but take a deep breath.  The IRS sends millions of notices to taxpayers for a variety of reasons.

Here are 5 things to know about IRS notices – just in case one shows up in your mailbox.

  1. Don’t Panic!  Stay calm and read over your notice. Many require a simple response.
  2. Review the Notice.  The notice will generally cover a specific issue about your account or tax return and will have specific instructions on what you need to do. There are many reasons why the IRS sends out notices.   The notice may be asking you to provide additional information or may require a payment to be made, or it may only be advising you of some changes that were made.
  3. Correcting your Tax Return.  If you receive a notice that the IRS has corrected or changed your tax return, you should review the notice and compare it to your tax return.  If you agree with the correction, then usually no reply is necessary unless the notice tells you otherwise or a payment is due.    If you do not agree with the correction, then it is important that you respond.
  4. Call for Assistance.  If you have any questions about your notice, you can contact the IRS by calling the telephone number in the upper right-hand corner of the notice.  Your professional tax return preparer is also there to help you.
  5. Keep Copies.  Maintain copies of your notice and all related correspondence with the related tax return as part of your records.

And remember, the IRS only sends notices by the mail.  Be wary of any emails you receive alleging it is from the IRS.  The IRS never contacts taxpayers by email.


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