Those Scary IRS Notices!!!

What to do if You Get a Notice from the IRS

Many millions of people have received the dreaded IRS letter. The moment you see it, you get that pit in your stomach, dread, fear, or even anger. Many have the urge to quickly throw it away as if they did not see it and possibly believe the problem will disappear if ignored. That will not happen. Once you are on the IRS radar, you need to respond unless they have corrected an item on a return, you agree with the correction, AND no additional money is owed to the IRS. If so, consider yourself lucky!

Following is a brief bulletin issued by the IRS as a guideline if you receive a letter. They make it seem easy, and it sometimes is, but feel free to have your CPA or tax preparer translate if there is any confusion. The most important point is the first short sentence of #1 below:

1. Do not ignore it. You can respond to most IRS notices quickly and easily. And it’s important that you reply promptly.

2. IRS notices usually deal with a specific issue about your tax return or tax account. For example, it may say the IRS has corrected an error on your tax return. Or it may ask you for more information.

3. Read it carefully and follow the instructions about what you need to do.

4. If it says that the IRS corrected your tax return, review the information in the notice and compare it to your tax return.

If you agree, you do not need to reply unless a payment is due.

If you do not agree, it is important that you respond to the IRS. Write a letter that explains why you do not agree. Make sure to include information and any documents you want the IRS to consider (prove your point). Include the bottom tear-off portion of the notice with your letter. Mail your reply to the IRS at the address shown in the lower left part of the notice. Allow at least 30 days for a response from the IRS. (Note: you probably will not hear for at least 60 days).

5. You can handle most notices without calling or visiting the IRS. If you do have questions, call the phone number in the upper right corner of the notice. Make sure you have a copy of your tax return and the notice with you when you call.

6. Keep copies of any notices you get from the IRS.

7. Do not fall for phone and phishing email scams that use the IRS as a lure. The IRS first contacts people about unpaid taxes by mail – not by phone. The IRS does not contact taxpayers by email, text or social media about their tax return or tax account.

For more on this topic visit Click on ‘Responding to a Notice’ at the bottom left of the home page. Also see Publication 594, The IRS Collection Process. You can get it on or call 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676) to get it by mail.

Additional IRS Resources:
• Tax Topic 651 - Notices – What to Do
• Tax Topic 652 - Notice of Underreported Income – CP-2000
• Tax Topic 653 - IRS Notices and Bills, Penalties and Interest Charge


Internal Revenue Service. July 2, 2014. What to do if You Get a Notice from the IRS. IRS Tax Tips. Issue Number: IRS Summertime Tax Tip 2014-01.