Received an IRS notice in the mail? Fortunately, it’s a common occurrence and the solution should be straightforward. Read below for the best way to approach the situation, and get it taken care of quickly and painlessly.
1) Don’t panic.
Although the initial sight of the IRS stamp can be scary, most letters contain requests that are simple and easy to take care of. The IRS may be asking for verification of information related to your tax return, information regarding changes to your account, and at worst, a payment. Often times, the notice is just that, a notice, and requires no action from you whatsoever.
2) Review it carefully.
IRS notices normally pertain to something very specific, so read and re-read exactly what is being stated and asked for. If you are required to respond, make sure you understand the directions for correspondence. These notices may be long, arduous, and nerve racking, but understanding it’s contents will ensure a quick resolution.
3) Double check the facts.
Even the IRS makes mistakes, whether it be a typo, miscommunication, or loss of information. If you don’t agree with what the notice is claiming, match their numbers and facts with those of your records, which may include your copy of your tax return, W2s, and the like. Know your rights, obligations, and keep them in mind for your correspondence.
As a formal institution, it’s best to write, both for timely and accurate correspondence, as well as for keeping track of exchanges. Calling or emailing should be the last resort, and can often involve long wait times or indirect answers. Writing will be especially useful when asking for extension on payments or when in disagreement with your initial notice. Make sure to include all of the necessary information that pertains to your situation, in a formatted document, and sign the bottom.
5) Keep any and all records.
Save electronic versions and also make hard copies of correspondence for future reference. Keep them with your tax return and other tax-related documents in case the issue is necessary to take into consideration for next year’s filing. In the off chance that you have to present these documents to the IRS or tax professional, the facts will be clear and the process swift.
6) Consider a tax lawyer or account’s assistance.
If the situation gets sticky, or the laws surrounding the notice are complex, reaching out to a professional may be the best option. A tax lawyer or accountant can help you work through the details and best course of action, so that your finances and your record are safe and sound.
Now that you know an IRS notice doesn’t have to be a headache, and your solution is on its way to being solved, make sure you take preventative measures to avoid notices in the mail; fill out your tax return clearly and carefully, and update your information as soon as it changes. The result? The IRS will only contact you to hand out your tax return!
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