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At this time of year, the IRS mails notices to taxpayers regarding their recently filed returns. Notices are sent for a variety of reasons that don’t involve collection, so there’s no need to panic.

IRS correspondence. The IRS will mail a letter or a notice to a taxpayer if there is something wrong with the taxpayer’s return or if the agency needs more information about the return or the person who filed it. The IRS will also send the taxpayer a notice if it changes the taxpayer’s return.

If you receive mail from the IRS, you should open it and read it carefully.

Don’t ignore the mail. You should never ignore mail from the IRS. The notice or letter will explain why the IRS is contacting you and what you need to do.

Don’t panic. You should read the notice or letter carefully and follow the included instructions. For example, if the IRS changed your return, you should compare the information in the notice or letter with the information on your filed return. Generally, if you agree with the changes the IRS made, you don’t need to contact the IRS.

Timely respond to the notice or letter. You should promptly respond to any notice or letter from the IRS that requires a response. By responding quickly, you will:

  1. avoid delays in processing your tax return.
  2. minimize any additional interest and penalty charges.
  3. preserve your rights to appeal changes you don’t agree with.

Note. The faster the IRS can process a return that includes an overpayment, the faster you get your refund.

Amount due notices. If you receive a balance-due notice and you agree with the IRS’ explanation, you should pay as much as you can, even if you can’t pay the full amount due. The IRS has a variety of ways to pay, and you may be able to use the self-help tools on IRS.gov to set up a payment plan.

Keep a copy of any IRS correspondence. You should keep a copy of all notices or letters with other tax records.

When calling the IRS. If you must contact the IRS by phone, you should use the phone number in the upper right-hand corner of the notice. You should have a copy of your tax return and the notice or letter when calling.

Typically, you’ll only need to contact the IRS if:

  • you don’t agree with the changes the IRS made to your return,
  • the IRS requests additional information from you, or
  • you have a balance due and can’t pay.

You can also write to the agency at the address on the notice or letter. Replies are worked on a first-come, first-served basis and will be processed based on the date the IRS receives it.


Article by Jack Howell
May 26, 2022