Few things are more frightening than opening your mailbox and finding a letter from the Internal Revenue Service. You may wrack your brain wondering what you’ve done to receive an IRS notice. But there’s no need to pretend it didn’t arrive or go on the lam.
Relax. The IRS sends out millions of letters each year for a variety of reasons. An IRS letter does not necessarily carry bad news – and if it does, ignoring it is not going to make the situation any better. Take a deep breath, resist the urge to panic, and follow these tips to help you get past your initial shock.
1. Read the Letter Promptly – Putting off opening the letter won’t help you, and delaying can even cause you harm. In many cases, the IRS is simply seeking more information or clarification of some aspect of your tax return, which makes it time-sensitive by definition.
2. Check for Incorrect Information – Review the notice for any errors such as a misspelled name or an incorrect Social Security number and compare any noted corrections or changes in your return with your original submission. These could be simple mistakes, modifications to correct errors on your original return. It’s quite possible you didn’t consider one of the latest tax changes when you filed. Alternatively, the IRS corrections could be signs that someone has tried to send in a fraudulent tax return in your name. Let MoneyTips protect your credit and your identity with a free trial.
3. Reply Promptly When Necessary – Not all IRS notifications require a reply, but when they do, it’s important to reply quickly. Typically, you will have thirty days to respond. Your response should be in writing, and you should retain copies of your correspondence, as well as any information that you send along with the correspondence – for example, proof of a particular deduction that you have claimed.
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