How to Handle an IRS Letter or Notice: A Step-by-Step Guide

how to handle an irs letter

If you receive a letter or notice from the IRS, don’t panic. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you did something wrong or that you owe a lot of money. Most IRS letters and notices are about routine issues that can be easily resolved. However, you should not ignore them or delay taking action. Here are some steps you should follow if you get an IRS letter or notice in the mail.

1. Read the letter carefully and understand what it says
The IRS will send you a letter or notice for various reasons, such as informing you of changes to your tax return or account, requesting additional information or payment, or notifying you of an audit or collection action. Each letter or notice will have a specific number and name that identifies its purpose and content. You can find more information about the different types of IRS letters and notices on the IRS website.

2. Compare the information in the letter with your tax records
If the letter is about a changed or corrected tax return, you should review the changes and compare them with your original return. If you agree with the changes, you don’t need to do anything unless the letter asks you to take further action or make a payment. If you disagree with the changes, you should contact the IRS as soon as possible and explain why you think they are wrong. You may need to provide supporting documents or evidence to back up your claim.

3. Take any requested action promptly and keep copies of everything
If the letter asks you to do something, such as send additional information, make a payment, or respond to an audit request, you should do so within the deadline specified in the letter. This will help you avoid additional interest and penalties, as well as more serious consequences like liens or levies. You should also keep copies of any correspondence, payments, receipts, or other documents related to your case for your records.

4. Contact the IRS if you have any questions or concerns
If you are not sure what the letter means, how to respond, or what your rights are, you can call the phone number provided in the letter and speak to an IRS representative. You can also visit the IRS website and use the online tools and resources available there, such as checking your account balance, making a payment plan, or requesting an appeal. You can also seek help from a tax professional, such as an accountant, attorney, or enrolled agent, who can represent you before the IRS and assist you with your case.

5. Beware of scams and frauds
The IRS will never contact you by email, text message, social media, or phone call to request personal or financial information, demand immediate payment, threaten legal action, or offer refunds or settlements. The only way the IRS will contact you is by mail or through authorized private collection agencies. If you receive any suspicious communication that claims to be from the IRS, do not respond or click on any links or attachments. Instead, report it to the IRS by forwarding it to [email protected] or calling 1-800-366-4484.

By following these steps, you can handle any IRS letter or notice with confidence and ease. Remember that most IRS letters and notices are not a cause for alarm and can be resolved quickly and peacefully if you act promptly and cooperate with the IRS.