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I Received An IRS Notice, Now What?

Checking the mail can cause headaches on a normal day. There are credit card bills, bank statements, and doctors’ appointment reminders nagging at you. The last thing you want added on top of that is a notice from the IRS. But remember, getting an IRS notice is not always a bad thing. In fact, certain notices are for your benefit. So here are a few things to keep in mind if you see an IRS notice in your stack of mail.

1. Before the panic sets in, read your notice.

There are many reasons why the IRS sends notices. The IRS can send notices for the following reasons:

  • You have a balance due.
  • You are due a larger or smaller refund.
  • They have a question about your tax return.
  • They need to verify your identity.
  • They need additional information.
  • They changed your return.
  • They need to notify you of delays in processing your return.

2. Check to determine what your notice means.

The IRS provides you with information regarding certain notices a on the IRS website. At the IRS website, you can type in your notice number into a search bar and receive information regarding the type you received. The number should be located at the top right hand corner of the notice. If you have further questions regarding your notice, you can also try contacting the IRS. The notice should contain a contact phone number on the top right hand corner as well.

*Important: If you receive a notice that looks suspicious and you are questioning if it is really from the IRS, you should call 1-800-829-1040 to report the notice. You can also visit the IRS Report Phishing page for more information.

3. Gather necessary documentation.

If the notice indicates that the IRS is questioning something on your return, you will want to gather certain records. This will likely include gathering the tax return in question and all related documents.

Example: If the notice is requesting proof of a dependent’s relationship, the taxpayer may want to obtain the child’s birth certificate and make a copy of such document in order to provide to the IRS.

Example: If the Notice is challenging a business expense deduction, the taxpayer will want to make sure to gather receipts, bills, invoices and/or mileage logs to prove such deduction.

*Remember: If you don’t have a copy of your original return, you can request a transcript at the IRS ”Get Transcript” page or by call the IRS automated phone application at 1-800-908-9946 or by completing and sending the IRS Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return.

4. Respond to the notice.

If the notice requires a response, you will generally want to respond by the specific date listed in order to:

  • Minimize possible additional interest and penalty charges
  • Preserve your appeal rights if you don’t agree with the notice

*Keep in mind: IRS notices may not always be correct. That is why it is important to gather your records and determine for yourself if you agree with the notice.

5. Reach out for help.

If you don’t feel comfortable responding to the notice or need help figuring out your next step, contact Portney & Company, CPAs 201.862.0500 or help@portney.com.

6. Maintain records.

Make sure to keep copies of all notices with your tax records. Depending on why you are receiving this notice, you may need these documents at a later date.


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