Don’t ignore a letter or notice from the IRS!

If you receive one of the millions of notices and letters the IRS sends to taxpayers every year, just open it and follow the instructions. IRS letters or notices typically are about a specific issue on your federal tax return or tax account and include specific instructions on what you need to do to respond.

Generally, the IRS sends a notice if:

  • you owe additional tax;
  • you are due a larger refund; or
  • the IRS is requesting payment or needs additional information about your return.

Many of these letters and notices can be dealt with simply, without having to call or visit an IRS office.

For example, you may get a notice that states the IRS made a change or correction to your tax return. If you do, review the information and compare it with your original return. If you agree with the notice, you usually don’t need to reply unless it gives you other instructions or you need to make a payment.

However, if you don’t agree with the notice, it’s important for you to respond. Write to explain why you disagree and include any information and documents you want the IRS to consider. Mail your reply to the address shown in the upper left-hand corner with the bottom tear-off portion of the notice, if provided. Keep copies of any correspondence with your tax records.

If you have questions, call the telephone number in the upper right corner of the notice. Have a copy of your tax return and the correspondence available when you call.

Check Understanding Your IRS Notice or Letter on for samples of the notices we send, including the reason we send it and a list of enclosures we might include with it. Since parts of our notices vary depending on account conditions, the samples may not exactly match the notices we mail. The basic message, though, will be the same.

If you believe that you’ve received a fraudulent notice, call 1-800-829-1040 to verify if it is legitimate. If it’s not legitimate, file a TIGTA report.

For more information about IRS notices and bills, see Publication 594, The IRS Collection Process. Information about penalties and interest is available in Publication 17, Your Federal Income Tax (For Individuals).

Created: August 2015

Don’t ignore a letter or notice from the IRS!

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