Receiving an IRS notice in the mail can be scary, but the situation can be less daunting if you know what to do. First, it’s important to note that not all IRS notices are negative as some are only informational. In any case, taxpayers should know what steps to take upon receiving an IRS notice.
Do Review Your IRS Notice
The IRS will send notices for many reasons, from notifying you of a balance dueto informing you of a delay in processing your return. From inquiring whether your return is missing a schedule or form required for processing to informing you of a potential audit. Carefully review your notice for important information. If you’re unsure of what the notice means, you can look up the CP or LTR number, located on the top or bottom right-hand corner of the notice.
It also shows the date and time the IRS expects you to respond. In the best case scenario, the IRS is pursuing a correspondence audit covering one or two items of a single year’s tax return. Correspondence audits are conducted entirely by mail and makeup 75 to 80 percent of all audits. An in-person interview audit takes place at your local IRS office. A field audit is scheduled for a particular date and time but takes place in your home or office. It is considered the most comprehensive type of audit.
Do Not Panic
Understand what auditors are seeking. While each audit is different, all audits focus on three basic questions:
Is your business truly a business – or just a hobby?
If you can answer these three questions to the satisfaction of the auditor, you stand a good chance of emerging from an audit relatively unscathed.
Do Gather Your Documentation
Once you have determined what information the IRS is seeking, it’s time to begin gathering your paperwork. If the IRS is challenging a particular deduction or tax credit that you claimed, gather whatever documentation you have to support your claim. This can include bank statements, receipts, and invoices. Provide as much information as possible concerning the inquiries the IRS has made. Also, make photocopies of everything that you intend to provide to the IRS. Never give up your original documents. If you must report in person for an office audit or prepare your home or office for a field audit, ensure that your paperwork – and your representative – will be available and ready.
Do Respondto the IRS Noticein a Timely Manner
If the information on the notice looks inaccurate, you should respond with a written dispute. Doing so in a timely manner can help minimize interest and penalty fees. Be sure to include any information and supplemental documentation to support your case. However, do not volunteer information the IRS has not specifically requested. Typically, the IRS should respond to disputes within 30 days.
Do Check for Scams
Remember that the IRS will never contact you via text message or social media. In fact, initial contact from the IRS is usually via mail. If the IRS notice does not appear credible, you can always check your online tax account on the IRS website to confirm balances due, communication preferences, and more.
The IRS will notify a taxpayer if they believe that there may be fraudulent activityoccurring on their tax return. The IRS will send a letter to you inquiring about a suspicious tax return that you may have not filed. They will request that you do not e-file your return because of the duplicate social security number that was used. Act quickly should you receive this letter from the IRS to avoid further fraudulent activity with your personal information.
Do Not Ignore the IRS Notice
Some IRS notices are purely informational and require no additional action. However, do not assume this is always the case and ignore the notice. Simple mistakes made on your return or underreporting income can result in the IRS requesting action from you. A notice can also be a notification that you owe taxes and will give instructions on how to pay the balance by the due date.
Do Not Replyto the IRS NoticeUnless Instructed To Do So
Typically, a response to an IRS notice is not needed. Once you confirm a response is not required, you can proceed with other actions. Even if the notice informs you of a balance due, there is no need to contact the IRS unless you do not agree with the information on the notice.
Do Learn from the Experience
Use the situation as an opportunity to learn more about tax regulations and ensure that your future tax filings are accurate and complete. Consider consulting with a tax professional for ongoing guidance.
Tax Help for Those Who Received an IRS Notice
Even if you prepare your own returns, having a professional from Optima Tax Relief check out your response before you return it to the IRS may save you from making a costly error. The IRS allows you to be accompanied by a representative if you have been contacted for an in-person interview audit or a field audit. Take advantage of this opportunity. You’ll likely be nervous during the procedure and may share information that might prompt the IRS agent to probe beyond the original scope of inquiry. Not only that, most IRS agents prefer dealing with a professional.
The best thing to do to avoid receiving warnings from the IRS is to always ensure that you remain compliant with tax law. However, if you find yourself in a situation where you owe the IRS, tax relief is always an option. Optima Tax Relief is the nation’s leading tax resolution firm with over $1 billion in resolved tax liabilities.
Today, Optima Tax Relief’s Lead Tax Attorney, Phil Hwang, discusses IRS notices, including when you can expect a notice to turn into enforcement and how to respond to a notice.
Receiving an IRS notice can be very intimidating, especially when you are being notified of a tax balance due. But most people want to know exactly how many notices the IRS will send before they begin to take certain actions, such as levying your bank accounts, garnishing your wages, or placing a lien on your property. Unfortunately, there is not a set number that will trigger IRS enforcement as each case is different, but on average, a taxpayer might see about six notices come in the mail before the IRS begins to collect. A Final Notice of Intent to Levy will always be sent before the IRS takes action. The IRS will not and cannot take action without it.
If you receive a Final Notice of Intent to Levy, you should act immediately. If you do not, the IRS can seize your property, bank accounts, wages, government benefits, and more. The most obvious way to resolve the issue is to pay your tax balance in full within the set amount of time the IRS provides. Although most people who find themselves in these situations typically do not have the funds to pay, doing something is better than ignoring the issue. Some other options you may have are:
Setting up an installment agreement with the IRS
Submitting an offer in compromise
Apply for Currently Not Collectible status
Apply for Innocent Spouse Relief
Request a Collection Due Process hearing if you disagree with the notice
Tune in next Friday for another episode of “Ask Phil” where Phil will break down IRS audits.
While it is not unusual, getting a notice from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) can be a stressful event. Every year, the IRS sends notices to millions of Americans, and while some of these notices can be purely informational, others might call for prompt action. Each IRS notice has a code assigned to it, which is usually located on the top or bottom right-hand corner of the written notice. Here are some of the most common IRS notices and letters, what they mean, and how to respond.
IRS Notice CP2000
IRS Notice CP2000 is sent to taxpayers when the income or payment information the IRS received from third parties does not match what is reported on the taxpayer’s tax return. This is important because it can result in an increase or decrease in the amount of taxes owed. If you get a CP2000 notice, you should respond as soon as possible. The notice will include a response deadline and directions on how to respond. In general, you have 30 days from the notice’s date to reply.
You have two choices when responding to the notice: accept or deny the suggested changes. You can sign the response form and send it to the IRS along with any additional taxes due if you accept the suggested changes. If you disagree with the changes that have been suggested, you can back up your arguments with evidence and explain why you think the changes are inaccurate. Remember that additional taxes, interest, and penalties may apply if you don’t respond to the CP2000 notice.
IRS Notice CP90
IRS Notice CP90 is a formal notice of the intent to levy along with a notice of your right to an appeal. The IRS will send you one final notice before beginning collection efforts against you. The notice advises the taxpayer that the IRS plans to seize their assets, such as bank accounts, property, wages, and other sources of income, in order to pay the back taxes owed.
It is crucial that you act immediately if you receive a CP90 notice. After receiving the letter, you have 30 days to contact the IRS. You can choose to pay the tax debt in full, set up an installment agreement with the IRS, or request a Collection Due Process (CDP) hearing.
IRS Notice CP523
IRS Notice CP523 is a notification of default on an installment agreement by missing one or more monthly payments. The notice will also warn of a potential seizure of your assets because of your default.
If you receive this notice, you should contact the IRS within 30 days of the date of the notice. You can also restore the installment agreement by making the missed payments, but you may be required to pay a reinstatement fee. If you are unable to make the current payments, you can ask for a modification to the payment plan. This could entail increasing the payment duration or decreasing the monthly payment amount.
IRS Notice CP14
IRS Notice CP14 a letter from the IRS informing you that you have unpaid taxes on your federal income tax return. The notice will include the amount of tax owed, plus any penalties and interest that have accrued. If the details in the notice are accurate, you need to repay the debt as quickly as possible. Instructions on how to make the payment, including online payment choices, payment plans, and other payment methods, will be included in the notice.
You might be able to ask the IRS for a payment plan if you are unable to make the full payment. The notice will outline how to submit a payment plan request. Additionally, you can contest the notice if you think it is incorrect by formally protesting it to the IRS. To substantiate your argument, you must present supporting evidence.
IRS Letter 3172 is a notice of federal tax lien filing (NFTL). The IRS files this public document to inform creditors that the government has a claim to your interests in any current and future property and assets. Although NFTLs are no longer included in credit reports, they may still have an impact on your ability to receive credit if a potential creditor finds out about them from other sources, like public databases.
This letter advises you of your right to appeal the filing of the NFTL. You have 30 days from the letter’s delivery date to ask for a hearing to contest the lien. Alternately, you could also use the “Collections Appeals Program,” which enables you to challenge the lien. Although this approach can be quicker than the Due Process hearing, you are only able to contest the manner of collection rather than the underlying causes of the taxes owing.
What To Do If You Receive an IRS Notice
Receiving an IRS notice or letter in the mail can lead you to scramble in worry. However, the most important thing to do when receiving a notice is to check for its validity. Phony letters and notices are sometimes sent to innocent taxpayers in order to obtain personal information or payments. If you receive a suspicious letter or notice claiming to be from the IRS, you should confirm it is not fraudulent by contacting the IRS directly. If the notice turns out to be credible, you should understand the severity of the situation but also know you have options and you do not have to tackle your tax issues alone. Optima Tax Relief is the nation’s leading tax resolution firm with over a decade of experience helping taxpayers with tough tax situations.
With the recent passing of The Inflation Reduction Act, individuals who have unfiled tax years or unpaid tax debt may now expect an increase in IRS collection enforcement. Optima CEO David King and Lead Tax Attorney Philip Hwang explain how the Inflation Reduction Act can directly affect taxpayers and how to get compliant with the IRS.